VOL 7 NO. 7
EDITOR IN CHIEF & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIONE
PRESIDENT: KATHY KEETON
EDITOR: GURNEY WILLIAMS III
GRAPHICS DIRLC10R FRA\K DEVINO
MANAGING EDITOR: PAUL HILTS
Kar.sa- €■;■/ ch biographer
Michael Radenrjcn sr:d des'gnei
Jay Hunt collaborated on
this picture. It was originally
rendered lor Krg.h Brothers
Real Estate for an advertising
brochure and represents the
conception oi a new project in
the mind of an architect.
: - -"i
THE SCIENCE OF ILLUSION
PERCEPTION ON AN ALIEN
Ronald K. Siege!
THE ART OF ANALGESIA
Thomas 0' Toole
THE WORLD'S HARDEST
: By Jad< Anderson
^For our children,
opportunities on a
unimagined — unless
we fail them 3
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when !i-ii ; ;V"«i i ■ r a
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appropriations for' pork-barrel projects-, 1 '
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"lord to b hase moonbeams. ■ ■
arqumt it has -or- many years' ■
space pace. and-itss. now
But if Is an.argument thai rests; an bad' . ■
:| ered ■ ion riii one.
lending man's. reach :nio-.
andlnc his krowf'edgs: " .
-■ ii ha 1 1 ■
act The ieoeral
e times more '
and inefficiency." ..--'.
nan's future, v :
and we can enrich the present by doing so.
: '■■■:■■ ■ .:. ' .■.' ■ n discoveries —
whether '.he opening of naw continents or
of new. vistas of knowledge— 'hat have
been ihe dost antidotes to poverty sauator.
and csse.as'e. n was me voyage o- "::■ _.""-
•ejected as impractical first
Fohuga;, men by a Spanish
i — that -made
most successful antipoverty
.p;oe r am.in history the great migration
of beslitaie peoples to tf e New Wend
■ ■ ■■ i 'v.ii.m.l: ■■:.-■■- ;■! b'-v-:; m
■■ '■: :■ i S him ino I .1';.; ;y progm
v. tally needed to arouse children's curiosity
about spaoe; Formed
the White House and leading American
''.■::'. n iii i i i' >:■!!.... . ; ng
bbys; and girls between ihe ages of s:k
■■■!'■ ■:. soac ■' ■ ion
Ariel .when Young Astronauts rets its stride by
■■■ I ■ ■■ ■ . ■. ■. ■;.. :•■■■..«■ 1 million
av.-siU.-s irv space. -.Here are a few. of the
■ !ii:' ni.v nf i h l ,
!o ... vr Ill ■
unsbietdeddy any- atmosphere, nasbaoh ' ■
exposed fpr;eofisft€|fadiafbn;fromfhe'.su'r : '■
Aa'-a resh!ty;ive;mdon.;s:an:,i(feats!je :; frorn ;;;.':.
vvi'MCh'to study the mys'fehesof •he.eadh.hhe
scry and Ihe stars-. '■'
* : hidust.'la! opportunities will- 3ccn.pro!rie'a;e
IS; |ppb§|; If fjpl&j StfS^R Earth bee omes ■
'I .i. ■
■ i ' so i lafiohs to spa-
where such activities will become' '
harmless. Tf valuable
"minerais.'nPf pnty lo : augment dwindling
sustain soclefes ii-spacc.
•T^it-ara astronauts will ier-mforrrdh'e'
yinvcorimonisoi' Mars add other bodies,
melting permafrost Info llid-susiuining
water and introducing pianfliio thai wilt, in
n-T i. in time: ..■
;fheyw:h.dptspaeewith bright, domed'
FKlanoc of humanity laying ;.he foundation
'IpVIhe' survival of our species Hour planet
Utirva;-e!y faces destrucrcn uithe-; from
cosmic events or home- grown wars.
'.- : While.todays soacc t r i j prepares-'
ro open up future woiids. a also p-omo-'es
■!.!>■ I! .■;■■: I 1 . 'i ■■ .'I'll i ,
enrich or.' everyday life. Huben Humphrey
: usedto sayifiai the earfnly appiicauons
of ft -ifii-c '
advances we developed to penetrate
space, dfealep : ar more '.veaith than :
,.,i cosi i ihe fi'sl o!a ■. E'his
wisdom holds, even truer today, when
tradiiiona' ;obs a-e dwindling as a^resurtob'
the deci he of heavy Industry.
■. Such now
eleotroniGS. ielecomn "i un lea : io r s , robotics,
and ,' i in I ma
1 :■. i ;r m ■ i, 1 . ■■■ . .■
■ '.:.■ an. ii -orma! i n ?.<
and Ihp space program is .fhep'ee.mfnerif
an procv.i ■ ■■ >■ .; i.; ■ ' i .' , i i i ,■
dafurPmg way the Eighties has become a '
jaded, flaccid time to be young. Ouragey :■'.
seems besei by harmful diversions: pur ■ --:
500161/. short on stimuii to vigor and- excel.- : '
lence. But the young are fascinated with ■ . : '. :; '
space. The Young Astronauts program will
allow them the real
becoming pioneers in space sose-nces end
will enable them to contribute to the large .
--:-'. ■ ■■■--■ ■ . 1. 1 ■ in. A' !n
the successful implencntahon of the
tosuct ?,s pays i ;".: s
a no i
■■■■■■! lei iv d t e stars.
Every generaiicn, sf It Is lo fulfill ;tseif.
I '■■■ I !!i...l|l ■ !■ .iH > ■ II ■ I , I ,,0\.: .I' I .
to ennoble it. The distant reaches of space
act as such an incentive. No; since the time
of Columous has the dawn of a new ago
el expicratic \evy- :.-.----,i y.
Foi cur chrci'en, the epporiuoiiies wiil
present theniseives on a scale previously
jnimagined-- : uniess we fail Lihem DO
I ^\ I e live in a world oi illusion, a
I .1 I J P erce P tuai extravaganza
fc» *» created as our senses receive
data from the universe at large. Dazzling
as our concept of reality may be. it is a
limited vision, dependent upon the narrow
band of energy our sense organs absorb.
The human ear. for example, can pick
up the booms and trills of a Beethoven
symphony but not the high-pitched whistle
used to summon a dog. And the eyes
are sensitive to only a tiny portion of the ■
broad electromagnetic spectrum. We are
awestruck by the blazing blues and greens
in the world around us, but we can'i begin
to fathom the splendor of gamma rays
and X rays, the spectral vibrance of intrared.
As Isaac As mov said "Seeing is merely
seeing, nothing more." He meant, of course,
that perceptions can be erratic, sometimes
reflecting the nature of the world we must
negol mg our percep-
tions into the schizophrenic and bizarre.
Whether one's perceptions are peaceful
or maddening, though, they can often
be studied and controlled. And in "Hypno
Odyssey" (page 76), writer Paul Bagne
describes a new generation of scientists
trying to understand the olio of illusion and
reality at the heart of consciousness. The
new-age hypnotists, Bagne explains, use
their techniques to pierce Ihe layers of
human perception, proving that even when
commanded to feel or see an illusion, the "
subject — on some hidden level — will know
what's going on. Using that newfound
knowledge, the researchers have helped
their subjects to perceive Ihe subtle ebbs
and flows of the inner body.
If people can perceive and influence the
body while under hypnosis, they should
be able to do so in other situations as well.
And in this monlh's Mind column ("The
Awareness Factor," page 22). Patrick
Huyghe describes anesthetized patients
who perceive — and respond to — encour-
aging suggestions during surgery. Huyghe,
who is currently on a fellowship in science
broadcast journalism at WGBH-TV in Boston,
believes that unconscious perception can
play an increasingly important role in
medicine. But. he laments, the medical
community is reluctant lo recognize the
healing power of the mind.
Some doctors, though, have begun to
recognize lhal human physiology may
be subject to conscious control. In "Kindling
Courage" (page 44), writer Pefer Garrison
explores firewalking— the new fad that has
thousands of people slriding across
burning coals. Many dedicated firewalkers,
Garrison notes, feel no pain and sustain
not a single blister or burn. The participants,
moreover, gain confidence because of
the illusion that they have transcended the
ordinary abilities of man.
Scientists agree that firewalking is feasible
if the walk isn't overly long. But when asked
about another hot phenomenon— the:
strange sound a meleor makes as it.
plummets to Earth — they have long said,
"impossible." In this month's Earth column
("Hiss of the Fireball," page 20), however,
Omni senior ed tor Pamdci Weintraub
explains the anomaly. "Because sound
travels slowly," Weinlraub says, "it shouldn't
reach Earth until seconds after the fireball
has passed overhead. But in this instance
the fireball is emitting electromagnetic
energy that travels many times faster than
The Earth column describes an aural
illusion, but in "lllusionahum," on page 80,
contributing editor Owen Davies profiles
ihe master of visual illusion, the Japanese
artist Shigeo Fukuda. Fukuda's work plays
with our perceptions, proving that what
we think we see may not always be real.
Reality can be distorted in outer space as
well. In "Perception on an Alien Shore"
(page 52). UCLA psychologist Ronald K.
Siegel explains how we might perceive
extraterrestrial environments and life forms.
Describing biirc ng Nashi-js. adject terror,
and hallucinations of faces from the past,
Siegel declares that astronauts must be
trained to deal with an onslaught of strange
perceptions. "Science-fiction writers have
scripted the etiquetle for alien encounters,"
says Siegel. an avid SF fan, "But now that
such encounters may be possible, scientists
are also concerned."
In our own fiction this month. Ray Bradbury
explores some homey perceptions: What's
Ihe meaning of that funny scratching noise
overhead? "Trapdoor" (page 58) suggests
unseltling possibir.ies. Greg Sear takes the
reader to hell and back in'"Dead Run"
(page 90). And on page 70, Gregory
Beniord raises a question of medical ethics
in "Immortal Night."DO
editor & publisher
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Congratulations on your sixth year of
publishing Omni. In a jungle of pulp, your
publication is both a ray of light and a
breath of fresh air. Other magazines have
fried to copy your format, but none have
II was Kathy Keeton's First Word [October
1984] on the future of science illiterates
that prompted me to write this letter. When
I was a child, science seemed so exciting.
Where did the dinosaurs go? What's a
supernova? Vietnam diverted my energies
from these interests, but as a layman. I
still enjoy the wonder of it all. Thank you for
youf contribution toward helping people
understand this world in which we live.
Kathy Keeton's First Word demonstrates
valuable insights into a real problem. The
public-education system fails to teach
three important concepts necessary to a
Successful scientist in our society: initiative,
creative thinking, and the use and appreci-
ation of the free-enterprise system. Consid-
ering that our nation's teaching staff
consists mostly of individuals who have a
background in education only, this failure is
easy to understand.
After a student spends 16 to 20 years in
the educational system, staying there is
the path of least resistance. Successful
scientists do not follow the path of least
resistance, nor are the iraiis necessary to
becoming a successful scientist likely to be
taught by those who follow that path.
I am writing in regards to Sherry Baker's
article "Nazi Science" [Continuum, January
1985]. It's a shame that some people
cannot see the forest for the trees. By using
the information obtained from the Nazis'
experimentaiion on concentration-camp
inmates, scientists are not condoning
the methods used. They are furthering
modern medical knowledge. To paraphrase:
It we cannot learn from the past, we are
doomed to relive it.
No matter how barbaric these experi-
ments were, the fact is that they were done.
And just as there is no way to justify or
excuse how they were done, there is also
no way to undo them.
If the research conducted during this
period can help save lives today, then
I can do nothing but hail people like Robert
Harnett for their efforts, it is almost
In the article "Nazi Science," the question
is raised as to whether researchers
should use the data obtained by unscrupu-
lous Nazi doctors. On the preceding page,
Bernard Malamud is quoted as saying,
"If your train's on the wrong track, every
station you come to is the wrong station."
Mayans and Magna vox
Bill Lawren's "Mayans From the Sky"
[Explorations, January 1985] was, on the
whole, accurate and well done. I would,
however, like to correct one error concerning
the geographical-positioning system used
by our expedition. This equipment was
loaned to us by Magnavox, not Raytheon,
as was stated in the article.
Earth Satellite Corporation
Chevy Chase, MD
Researchers at the Kalamazoo Child
Guidance Clinic, in Kalamazoo, Michigan,
studied the effects of the drug methylphen-
idate hydrochloride — commonly called
Ritalin — on hyperactive and learning-
. disabled children in 1964. They found that
the drug produced some positive effects
on the children tested. Contrary to what was
stated in "Stuttering Cure" [Forum,
September 1984], the experimentation to
determine whether Ritalin could offer a
cure for speech disorders and other handi-
caps was completed, and no further
experimentation is expected. DO
Omni we/comes speculation, theories,
commentary, dissent, and questions from
readers in this open forum. We invite you
to use Ms column to voice your hopes
about the future and to contribute to the
kind of informal dialogue that provokes
thought and generates breakthroughs.
Please note that we cannot return submis-
sions and that the opinions expressed here
are not necessarily those of the magazine.
Science and the Spiritual
I would like to respond to the comments
made about my letter "Religious Furor"
[Forum, September 1984], in the letters
entitled "God and Science" [Forurh.
December 1984], First of all, please don't
tell me about the harm "atheistic" nations
have caused. Any philosophical position,
including alheism, should be arrived at
through reflection. I disagree with all forms
of dogmatism, including the dogmatic
atheism of Marxist philosophy, which has
given rise lo religious oppression.
My position regarding religion's influence
on science is based on historical facts.
Anyone who is ignorant of this phase
of history should read Andrew R White's
classic book History of the Warfare of
Science With Theology in Christendom.
Actually, I am quite pleased that my letter
drew some angry responses. We are at a
period in our history when it might be
wise to subject all our values to more rational
scrutiny. I'm glad that I offended some
people — if it made them think.
I refute the letters in "God and Science"
detending religion and faith. How can
religious people be said to be seeking truth
when those who question the faith are
labeled blasphemers? Religion is a lazy
man's pseudoscience established for those
who are afraid to think. How easy it is to
let the Vatican decide moral issues for you.
Atheists are far more moral than believers
because atheists know why they hold their
values. We've worked to realize them — ,
we don't blindly accept what the Church has
decreed as the truth. By placing one's
faith in God, I believe that one loses his faith
in man. Truly moral people don't need the
fear of eternal damnation to force them
to behave morally!
New Hope. PA
Please permit me to congratulate you for
printing Bill Lawren's "Vatican Science"
[December 1984J, an excellent presentation
rendered with much fairness. We are not
usually accustomed to giving this kind
of approval. Your article is another indication
of the improvement in relations between
science and religion.
Rev. Peter Stravinskas
East Coast Director
Catholic League for Religious
and Civil Rights
The ignorance displayed in "Vatican
Science" enraged me. As a Roman
Catholic who is well versed in Church
history and science, I resent Lawrerfs
referring to my church as a fundamentalist
body, "a church that recently insisted on
literal interpretation of the Bible "
Lawren is mistaken, "he Roman Catholic
Church does not, and to my knowledge
never has. insisted upon a literal interpreta-
tion of the Bible. The Church draws concrete
beliefs from the abstrsc parables of Christ.
A church with such provocative thinkers
as the Jesuits could not be named among
the fundamentalist sects of Christianity.
As a loyalist to papal teachings and the
papal office, I'd like to commend Omni and
Bill Lawren for "Vatican Science."
The Vatican has always been the divine
office that Christ founded. Throughout
the centuries, however, that office has been
condemned because of the actions of
the few ignorant and evil men who have
occupied and controlled its power and
influence. In the past century there have
been some saintly and worldly wise persons
occupying that office. John Paul II is
certainly a worthy one. I am delighted with
his blessing on scientific endeavors and
would once again like to congratulate Omni
for making the Church's scientific pursuits
understandable to laymen.
I thought Omni was supposed to be a
science magazine. Lately it seems to me
that you are trying to become a religious
magazine. I know science and religion are
trying to "mix," but give me a break! I
stopped believing in God just about the
time I stopped relieving in Santa Claus (or
maybe a little bit before that). Articles
like "Vatican Science" and "Righteous Stuff'-'
[May 1984] don't belong in Omni.
I don't really care what the Pope has to
say about science. His views on other
topics that are important to me, like abortion,
give a clear enough picture of this man,
who in my opinion is one of the most
reactionary popes we've had in a long time.
■ Come on, Omni, don't preach at me.
Oh, by the way, I did like the quote above
the Pope's picture on page 58 of "Vatican
Science" about Genesis being a myth.
HISS OF THE FIREBALL
■By Pamela Weintraub
It was Novemoer 13. 1833 and the East
Coast was in the midst of perhaps tho
most spectacular meteor shower of
all time. While dozens of glowing firebars
streaked through the- atmosphere, people on
the ground detected a distinctive hiss.
Minutes after, they heard the roa- ct the
meteors' dive to Earth.
Some 150 years later, in November '984.
Ben and Jeannette Kilingsworth watched
from their rural Galveston County, Texas-,
home as the space shuttle Discovery
approached Earth. Streaking across the
predawn sky, the craft seemed to omit
an unmistakable swish. The expected sound
ol reentry— Ihe sonic boom — came
several minutes later.
Over the centuries, there have been
hundreds of similar reports. People watching
large, moving objects !«me& ■• c fireballs
have routinely reported swishes, whooshes
crackles, and hisses And according to
Danish meteorologist Vagn Buchwald.
animals have lone; aj pi -■ t i \ -ieteel such
sounds as well Since gW waves travel
thousands of li-ies taster than sound waves
do, light radiating from such tar-off objects
should reach the witness seconds before the
sound, But-in case after case, witnesses
have perpeived both sound and image at
the same time.
This anomaly has been the subject ol
scienlific inquiry ever since the 1780s,
when Sir Charles Blagdon. secretary of the
Royal Society of London, studied a. large
fireball that reportedly hixi-od ;\s ■ w-.v.k: ■■::-,
descent more than 50 miles from observ-
ers on Ihe ground.
Blagdon was convinced by the sincerity
of his witnesses, but he could not explain
their perceptions. Instead, he declared, he
would leave Ihe mystery "as a point to
be cleared up by future observers."
Future observers g'ic indeed contemplate
Ihe phenomenon, proposing one theory
after another. One scientist, for inslance,
suggested that energy emitted by the .
fireball stimulated the brain directly,
bypassing the normal hearing apparatus in
the ear. Another proposed :hat the sounds
were produced when tiny particles blasted
off the meleor and flew close lo the
observer oh Earth.
k by their sincerity,
d lo go back and
that delusion was no! the case. "Reporl
after report.' says Keay. "paralleled the
claims ol my own witnesses in Australia. If
the reports were mere fantasy, how could
Ihe phenomenon occur again and again at
such widely divergent "jrnes and places
around the world? Something more had to
be going on."
To figure out that something, Keay took a
three-month leave of absence from his
job. heading for Ihe National Research
Council, in Ottawa, Ontario.
.Getting down to work, he theorized that
the mysterious phenomenon could occur
only if sound were somehow traveling
as fast as light. Since light is made of
electromagnetic energy, the sound was
probably induced by a form of electromag-
netic energy as well. Electromagnelic
energy, of course, cannot produce sound
directly. Buf as any radio engineer knows,
Keay reasoned, electromagnetic energy
can certainly be converted to acoustical
energy by a loudspeaker or some other
transducer. Natural objects in proximity to
the observer, he knew, could serve that
This embryonic Iheory in place, Keay
dug out an article by Arizona physicist and
fireball expert Doug Rc've- io. ReVelle
reported that wner giant -'ireballs penetrated
Ihe atmosphere, they produced a hot gas.
or plasma, generating Iremendous turbu-
lence in ine.r rapic descent to Earth.
Latching onto ReVelle's information,
Keay proposed thai Ihe plasma was turbu-
lent enough to literally trap the earth's
magnetic field, But during the fireball's
desceni, the plasma would dissipate,
releasing the magnetic field in the form of
very low frequency elecfcmagnetic radia-
tion. That radiation would travel to Earth
at ihe speed ol light, causing objects in the
vicinity of the observer to vibrate.
Teslmg his hypothesis Keay placed
. subjects benealh an electrode that emitted
radiation similar to that given off by the
fireball. In a few nstances subjects heard
a whooshing sound. And those with loose
clothing, steel-rimmed glasses, or frizzy hair,
which all vibrate readily, were most suscep-
tible of all,
Keay's recent results are strengthened
"HE AWARENESS FACTOR
■By Patrick Huyghe
□ h my God.'' wisecracks one
member of the surgical team,
looking down at the obese woman
under deep anesthesia, "they dragged
another beached whale into our operating
room." The jokes fly last and furious, but
the woman's poor recovery later on won't be
any laughing matter.
A week later the woman spontaneously
recalls the comments, and within 24 hours
her mysterious surgical complications
clear up. Noticing the change, her nurse
checks with someone who was present at
the operation and who remembers the
This true slory is typical of incidents
physicians describe as awareness under
anesthesia. The term actually cowers a
broad spectrum of reports, at one end of
which are slories of patients who have
been inadequately anesinet.zed and who
wake up in the middle of an operation.
At the other end are accounts of fully
anesthetized patients who have no
conscious memory of their surgery but
whose later behavior indicates they knew
something of what was happening around
them. These episodes o- awareness under
full anesthesia raise the question of
whelher consciousness is necessary for
awareness. Can perception occur in this
unconscious stale Does h p,-i:,enls noi vous
system continue to pick up environmental
data under anesthesia?
"There's no reason to believe lhal
perception is not functioning and processing
meaningful information even under
anesl'icsa. says — enry Bennett, a
psychologist currently on the faculty of Ihe
department ol anesihssidcyy a I 'hf.-
University of California's Davis Medical
Center, in Sacramento. "General anesthetics
do. not turn off the entire nervous system.
It is fairly well known that Ihe auditory
syslem, for instance, is remarkably resistant
- to ihe eflecls of anesthetic agents."
Bennett has beer able to demonstrate
that patients are sensitive to Iheir surround-
ings even under anesthesia and are able
to respond to suggestions. In one instance,
he instructed anosthet zed oaiients lo tug
on an earlobe di./'nc; ,-■ preoperative
■ interview (9 of 11 people did so), and in
another experiment oaterts resoonood
to his suggestion to make one hand warmer
than the other. "Even though they can
.'h')/ ;;o,' ;.',;■;.' ous.''/ fecal: :!. patients are
responsiveto suggestion and are able lo
acton it," he says.
The idea that cognitive functioning is
going on even when a patient is uncon-
scious is supported by some ingenious
animal research, University of California at
Irvine psycho biologists Norman Weinber-
ger and Debra Sternberg, and Paul Gold, ot
Ihe University of Virginia, taught anesthe-
tized rats to fear a noise.
The -rats were placed under heavy
anesfhesia and presented with a series of
tones followed by shocks. Some were
given epinephrine, a stress hormone thought
to play an important role in memory
storage, while others received a saline
solution. A week later, the rats' reactions to
the tones were tested during a water-
drinking task When me tones were
sounded, Ihose that had been injected with
Ihe saline solution continued to drink,
while those that had received the epineph-
rine ran into a corner and hid.
The experiment shows that memories
can form under anesthesia, and it helps
explain some human-awareness episodes.
"Since we know that epinephrine levels
rise in response to stress," says Gold, "it is
my guess thai those patients who remem-
ber things that went on during surgery
are also Ihose who reacted lo their operation
with this sort of hormonal response."
■ Because ol those f ridings. Bennett has
begun looking for similar stress hormones
in the blood of anesthetized patients.
"When you go under anesthesia you are
generally in a very high stress siluation," he
says. And if these biochemicals work
in people the same way they do in animals,
he thinks he has a clue as to how people
retain inlormation even when unconscious.
Evidence of such awareness suggests
that negative remarks and insensitive
banter could have an adverse effect on a
patient's recovery, whether or not
the comments are consciously recalled.
Such remarks as, "It's hopeless: this won't
work right" or "It may be cancerous" could
spell disaster for some patients. Aneslhe-
tized patients may be vulnerable to upsetting
CONTINUED ON PAGE 104
By Randall Black
Searing heal and radiation bake the
cone-shaped spacecraft as it
plummets through fierce gusts of
superheated gas. The craft's mission, to
explore a star close up for the lirst time, is
far too dangerous lor a human. The pilot, a
robot, activates the ship's dormant sensory
equipment. On Earth, controllers wait
while the heavily shielded probe undergoes
a literal trial by tire.-As the spacecraft
drops nearer to the incandescent surface,
its computers record streams of scientilic
data, while its coding system strains to
reject deadly heat.
At its closest approach, a distance only
twice the star's diameter, the craft enters a
gravitational field hundreds of times
stronger than any before measured.
Einstein's theory of relativity predicts that
time will slow down in this slrange region.
Before its trajectory takes it out and away
into the cool of space, the now-glowing
craft's cameras photograph the star's grainy,
spotted surface. And there is something
else. From the fires ot a star that mankind has
wondered at and worshipped for millennia,
the spacecraft swipes a small sample:
a piece of the sun.
In 1975 Giuseppe Columbo, of Italy's
University of Padua, first suggested that
NASA send an unmanned spacecraft to fly
through the sun's corona. Since then.
Project Starprobe has been studied by
scientists.at NASA's Jet Propulsion Labora-
tory (JPL). Just recently ihese scientists
concluded that, once approved by
Congress, the sun-grazing mission could
be ready to fly sometime in the mid-Nineties.
They estimate that costs will hover at the
Galileo mission mark — $500 million to
$1 billion. "We wouldn't have considered
an undertaking like Ihis fifteen years ago."
says James Randolph, Starprobe study
manager at JPL. "It's not that we have the
technology in hand, but we do have the
confidence that we can develop it."
The technological obstacles are formida-
ble: to create a craft that's capable of
withstanding solar radiation 3,000 times as
intense as that- on Earth and temperatures
of about 2,500° Kelvin — almost half as hot
as the sun's surface. While enduring this
hellish ordeal, the ship must also ta"ke
precise measurements and communicate
with home. Add the demand that the
probe's 450-pound shield not contaminate
the sampling environment with any more
than 3.5 milligrams of particulate debris
(smaller than a single grain of sand) per
second, and the eng noer's |ob takes on a
Despite all Ihis, NASA is proceeding with
tests of carbon- caibon shielding — the
same type used on the nose, wings, and
tail of the space shuttle — at a unique solar
furnace in France. Sunlight, concentrated
to mimic conditions Starprobe will encounter
in the solar corona, will roast the layered
carbon material while engineers measure
how many contaminants are released.
Once scientists master the shielding
"technology, Randolph says, the major hurdle
will be behind them.
After being launched from the space
shuttle's payload bay, the spacecraft must
shed the velocity that keeps it orbiting
at the same distance as the earth orbits the
sun. Because its Centaur booster lacks
the power, to decelerate the craft directly.
Starprobe will first make a two-year detour to
Starprobe: Snatching a piece of Old Sol.
Jupiter and use the gravity of that planet to
brake its speed. Then the slowed craft
will plunge toward the sun. arriving fewer
than four years after its launch from Earth. If
it survives the first pass, Starprobe will
revisit the sun every four years, refining and
enhancing previous observations until
one of its vital systems fails.
Coming within 1,730,800 miles of the
sun, the proposed spacecraft will pass 15
times closer than the present record holder:
the German spacecraft Helios. At this
range, Starprobe's various telescopes can
peer through a tiny hole at the apex of
its conical shield and make unique obser-
vations in visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray
light. By mapping the sun's magnetic field,
astronomers may gain a better understand-
ing of the structure and origin of solar
flares— sporadic magnetic storms that
disrupt radio communication on Earth.
Scientists are anxious to take a sampling of
the particles emanating from the sun, to
belter understand the region where the solar
wind begins to accelerate.
The mission also presents an opportunity
lo study gravitational effects undetectable
anywhere else in the solar system, according
to JPL scientist John D. Anderson. By
carefully tracking how the solar gravitational
Held affects Starprobe's trajectory, physi-
cists can infer important information about
the sun's shape, rotation, and internal
structure. Such data can make or break
those theories [hat postulate a rapidly
rotating solar core, or even a small black
hole, at the sun's center.
On an even more esoteric plane, the way
Starprobe behaves while passing near
the sun could play a role in ongoing
competition between Einstein's theory of
general relativity and rival relativistic theories
of gravitation. A superaccurate hydrogen
clock aboard Starprobe could measure
such effects predicted by general relativity
as gravity's ability to slow time and to
shift light frequencies. Says Robert D.
Reasenberg. chairman of the Project
Starprobe committee on gravity and relativity
science, "Many of us think general relativity
is a beautiful theory, but as an experimen-
talist, I look for places to stick a pole in and
crack it open. "DO
By. Bill Lawren
They belonged to Broadway Joe
Namaih. and they may have been
the most famous knees in the
history of sporls. Battered by 13 years of
pounding trom gargantuan National Football
League linemen, Namath's knees were
subjected to four major operations.
Narnath was the victim not only of the
onslaughts of defensive ends but of a
basic disparity between the design of the
human knee and the physical stresses
involved in the games people play. The knee,
with its 150° mobility and its ability to
absorb lorces equal to three times a human
body's weight, is perfectly suited for
walking upstairs or strolling in the park. But
expose il to the extraordinary stresses ol
running, jumping, or pivoting, and this joint
begins to look like "two crowbars held
together with rubber bands."
Nearly everyone who has donned shoul-
der pads or running shoes has cursed
the knee's basic frailty. Soon, though,
everyone from the millionaire jock tothe six
o'clock jogger may benetit from what Los
Angeles sports orthopedist Douglas
Jackson calls an "explosion" of pioneering
treatments for knee ,ru es including new
hea ! nc: techniques "irarsp-ants. and
synthetic and organic spare parts. And
researchers predict lhat in the not-too-
distant future, we may see the most aston-
ishing knee replacement of all: a bionic
knee grown from a human being's own cells.
Right now. the developmenl of spare
parts looks most promising. One of the most
vulnerable and frequently injured parts of
the knee is the meniscus, the half-moon-
shaped pad that absorbs shock and keeps
the shin bone and the thigh bone apart.
Usually, Ihe repair wck ? performed
during microsurgery. But al New York's
Hospital for Special Surgery, a team led by
orthopedist Russet Warren s trying to
improve the haal.no. properties of the
meniscus. Unlike most body tissue, the
inner two thirds of the meniscus has no
blood supply and, thus, no healing
capability. Once torn, it simply stays torn,
Using a new surgical technique, however.
Warren and his colleagues have made
channels from the outer portion of the
mehiscus (which does have a blood supply)
to the inner area. In experiments on
animals, this procedure has allowed blood
to flow to Ihe m|ury promot ng what
appears to be full healing. So tar, the
technique has been tried on about 20
human patients, and Warren is anxiously
awaiting long-term results.
Warren's team is also working on menis-
cus transplants in animals, using cartilage
from the recently dead. Preliminary results in
15 dogs, he says, look "reasonable. As
far as we can tell, the function appears to
As far as Warren is concerned, these
results "at least suggest the possibility of
using transplants on certain patients"— those
with unstable ligaments, for example, or
whose menisci have been removed. "In
general," Warren says, "I think you're going
to see more and more of this kind oi trans-
plant in humans over the next five years.
We'll be able to use it not only for the
meniscus but for some ligaments."
This is good news for the thousands of
people who have suffered another common
form of knee injury; stretching and tearing
of the ligament, the fibrous "strap" that
holds Ihe femur and tibia together. The
knee's seven ligaments are extraordinarily
lough but not especially flexible; a
stretched ligament tends to stay stretched,
and it stretched beyond 6 percent of its
length, it snaps, leaving the entire knee
vulnerable !o further injury.
To treat this problem, some orthopedists
are inserting tiny lattice structures made
ol cloth or a biocM-gradable i.ispue known as
collagen. When placed in Ihe space
between a tear, the theory goes, the lattice
will support and sustain the growth of
new ligamenf tissue, which in time could
rejoin [he two torn ends.
"Because the structure of the ligament is
so complex and delicate," Jackson says,
"we have agreater chance of duplicating it
if we use living tissue." This technique
has yielded no significant results to date.
"But, "says Jackson, "we're working on it,"
A similar technique involves replacing
the torn ligament with strands of carbon
fiber. Developed in the late Seventies by
Andrew Weiss and Harry Alexander, of the
New Jersey Medical School, in Newark,
Ihe carbon fiber not only helps stabilize the
CONTINUED OM PAGE 106
By Jeff Hecht
The universe is full ol holes. Not
ordinary holes, but vast, nearly
spherical voids hundreds of millions
of light-years across and empty of galax-
ies. And where Ihere are no holes, there are
equally vast clusters o! galaxies, often on
the edges of these voids.
Because 99 percent of the universe
seems to be made of these holes, University
of New Mexico astronomer Jack 0. Burns
says the universe looks like Swiss cheese.
He admits that it is not a concept many
of his fellow astronomers are comfortable
with. Until recently many rejected this
strange new view of the universe. But
research performed in the splendid isolation
of observatories and at the keyboards of
computers has tended to support the
theory that the cosmos is holey.
This is all the product of a young field of
observational cosmology that looks at
what is called the large-scale structure of
the universe, its colossal voids as well
as its mammoth agglomerations— super-
clusters — of stars. Typically its researchers
concern themselves with anything
measured in tens or even hundreds of
light-years. On that scale, galaxies like our
own are mere dots. By analyzing such
massive phenomena and by using informa-
tion about them to build computer models,
astronomers hope to get a clearer picture of
how the universe evolved.
The Swiss-cheese image of the universe
suggested itself in 1978. when University
of Arizona astronomer Steve Gregory began
to find empty expanses of space measur-
ing millions of light-years across. Then
in 1981 , Robert R Kirshner, of the University
of Michigan; August Oemler, of Yale Univer-
sity; and Paul Schechterand Stephen
Schectrnan, of the Mount Wilson and Las
Cartipanas Observatories, went looking
in what they thought was an average region
of the universe — the constellation Bootes —
as part of a study on the density of matter.
They expected to see approximately 10,000
galaxies in that area of the sky. Instead
they found a mammoth spherical void about
350 million light-years in diameter.
The discovery of this void stimulated a
search for other large-scale phenomena. At
the University of New Mexico, Burns and
graduate student David Batuski had been
build models of ow Sw/ss-c
doing computer analyses of celestial
observations they had made at the Kitt
Peak Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona. In
1983 these men found something even
more impressive than a giant hole. Looking
in the direction of the constellations
Perseus and Pegasus, they found a stringy
supercluster of galaxies 1 billion light-
years long, the longest coherent structure
yet discovered in the universe.
How did such large-scale formations
come to be? Burns says they could have
been the result of something called quantum
fluctuations, which are believed to have
occurred during the first 10 to 30 seconds
of the universe's history, when it was a
newborn speck of matter barely a millimeter
in diameter. As the universe expanded,
gravity held the denser regions together.
Eventually matter became concentrated as
a scattering of massive clusters.
Other astronomers are turning to
computers to simulate the processes by
which early fluctuations evolved into the
current universe. One such simulation,
developed by Joan Centrella, of the
University of Texas, and Adrian Melott, of
the University of Chicago, is able to play out
the evolution of the universe only by
oversimplifying some of the physics involved
and by looking at the universe on a strictly
large-scale basis. As a result, galaxies —
and even some small galactic clusters— are
omitted. Still, each run of one of their
models takes two to three hours on a
Cray-1 supercomputer, one of the fastest
number crunchers in the world.
So far Centrella's computer work has
produced simulated superclusters and giant
holes that would stretch about 100 million
miles if they were real. Now that their models
are starting to resemble reality, Centrella,
Melott, and James Wilson, of the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory, are working
on a more detailed simulation.
The large-scale studies are in their early
stages, and both the model makers and
the astronomers admit they need more
observational data and more sophisticated
models. But they also point out that the
evidence already presented is good
enough to make former skeptics believe
in the Swiss-cheese metaphor.OQ
SCIENCE AND SCIENCE FICTO
■ 0^ ■ hen Omni was very young, I was accosted at a
H scientific meeting in Edinburgh by one of the
J world's leading astronomers, who said, as nearly
WJHF ^■P' as I can remember: "One simply can't lake Omni
very seriously, old boy, because you print science fiction in it!"
Before I could remind him that scientists since Johannes Kepler
have written science fiction and that a great many more of them
have enjoyed reading it, he scuttled away into the crowd.
In the intervening years, I have thought long and hard about the
relationship between science and science fiction. Undoubtedly,
without science — that organized and methodical pursuit of test-
able knowledge about the physical world — there would be no sci-
ence fiction. But science owes quite a bit to science fiction, too.
The relationship has benefited both sides.
By science fiction, 1 mean tales in which some aspect of future
science is so central to the story that without that scientific ele-
ment, the story would not exist. Think of that archetype of science
fiction, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Take away the scientific ele-
ment, and the story collapses. Fantasy does not require scientific
lore. You don't need physics or chemistry to produce a mytho-
logical monster or a unicorn, merely imagination Tales of the fan-
tastic are older, by far, than human history. But science fiction, as
it is defined nowadays, began with the scientific discoveries of the
seventeenth century. That is when stories based on the new Co-
pernican understanding ol the universe first appeared.
Today, science fiction is not only an accepted part of the con-
temporary literary scene, it has become a mainstay of the best-
seller lists and the big-budget movies of Hollywood. Thanks in
large part to the public's awareness that we live in a high-technol-
ogy world where scientific miracles fall like rain out of the sky, the
literature of science — science fiction — is extremely popular.
But what does science get from science fiction? How do ticket
sales for 2010 relate to the size of NASAs budget? How does the
readership of Omni affect the cutting edge of scientific research?
In two important ways. First, science fiction reinforces the fun-
damental belief of science that the universe is knowable and that
our rational minds can unravel its workings. Second, science fic-
tion excites the imagination of young readers and encourages them
to become scientifically literate. Science fiction is the liturgy of sci-
ence. It spells out the basic credo lhat every scientist follows.
whether conscious of this faith or not. Albert Einstein said it best:
"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibiiity."
To spend your life in scientific research, you must have the rock-
bottom faith that the universe can be understood; that one and
one always add up to two; that hydrogen will behave the same
way for you as it does on the other side of the cosmos, a billion
light-years away. Science fiction mirrors that faith. Even in its dark-
est, most foreboding stories, there is the underlying belief that the
human mind can understand the universe — understand and even
alter the blind workings of nature. Whether it is ending the age-old
drought on Dune or boosting the intelligence of moronic Charlie,
whether it is dealing with Asimov's robots or Heinlein's puppet
masters, the characters in science-fiction stories use their human
intellects to bend the course of the universe to their will.
Science fiction also shows that the end product of scientific re-
search is exciting, fascinating, and fun. In an age when we wonder
how to get children to study science and mathematics, the impor-
tance of science fiction's message may very well be crucial. Sci-
ence fiction shows the results of science, the thrill of discovery that
follows the tedious work of exploration.
Science courses in school start with the very hardest parts of
science, the monotonous yet important basics, the unglorious yet
necessary spadework. Science fiction shows what it's like when
the hard work pays off, when the magnificent invention actually
works, when your starship arrives at Alpha Centauri, when you
defeal the aliens and save Earth from annihilation.
Just about every man who has set foot on the moon started his
career after reading science fiction as a youngster. Nobel laure-
ates not only read science fiction, some of them write it. This does
not mean that everyone who reads science fiction will become a
scientist or astronaut. It means merely that science fiction is an
excellent way to make young readers aware of science — its re-
wards, its dangers, and its central place in a modern technological
society. Fruitful scientific research cannot take place in a society
that is scientifically ignorant. That British astronomer who sniffed
at science fiction owes his government grants, at least in part, to
a society that has become favorably inclined toward science
through reading science fiction. — BEN BOVA
Ben Bova is the former vice president/editorial director of Omni.
When the Danish navigator
Jens Munck first sailed into
the harbor al Churchill,
Manitoba, Canada, in 1619,
he was looking for an elusive
northwest passage to the
spice-rich Orient. What he
found instead were hundreds
of fearsome, shaggy white
Churchill, which lies on the
windswept western shore
of Hudson Bay, 1,200 miles
north of Chicago, calls itself,
with ambivalent pride, "ihe
polar-bear capital of the
world." No one who's been
there would dispute that. The
tiny settlement is at the
northern edge of a migration
path over which the great
white bears have meandered
So plentiful have the beasts
become that the Canadian
Wildlife Service has con-
verted an old Quonset hut
outside of town info a bear jail
to handle some of the more
obstreperous of the 1,200
to 1,500 polar bears who
troop into Churchill every lall.
There they sit, sometimes
in a foul temper induced by a
summer of fasting, waiting
for the ice to freeze on the
bay, where they prefer to
spend the winter dining on
unwary ringed seals.
The bear jail became
necessary for several rea-
sons. For one thing, the
ice doesn't always freeze at
fhe same time every year.
Even when it does, a warming
southerly wind can break it
up and dump -the grumpy
bears back on shore. When
that happens, they march
into town seeking food,
or head for the garbage
dump to the east. 'Marauding
bears can reduce an empty
summer cabin to kindling
in minutes. According to con-
servation officer Donald G.
Jacobs, of the Manitoba
Department of Natural Re-
sources, some of the craftier
ones seem to know that
the law protects them from
being shot unless they attack
someone, which is rare.
■ "When we tried to use an
incinerator instead of the
dump," he says, "some of
them actually got inside
it. They'd walk right through
the fence. Sometimes there' d
be twenty or thirty bears
milling around, and Ihe gar-
bagemen couldn't get out
of the truck."
So Jacobs and his col-
leagues spend each fall luring
pesky bears into culvert
traps baited with seal meat,
then carting them off to
the slammer. When the bay
freezes, they're released
on the ice. Only when the jail
gets too crowded are the
really hard cases flown out in
helicopter slings and depos-
ited as far as 200 miles up
Prisoners in Ihe bear jail's
20 cells are not permitted
visitors because the conser-
vationists don't want them
to grow too accustomed to
humans. Only the very young
or physically run-down
adults are fed. "We don't want
them to get the idea that jail
is a good place to go to
every fall," says Jacobs.
Even so, recidivism is a
problem. One 20-year-
old bear named Linda has
been locked up so many
times that she's famous in
Churchill. Her various cubs
have been shipped to zoos
as far away as Mexico. They
never find their way back,
but Linda does.
"Maybe life isn't tor everyone. "
"What will happen can't be
stopped. Aim lor grace. "
— Ann Beattie
"II you want to be true to lile,
start lying about it."
— John Fowles
LAUNCH ON WARNING
A Stanford University
cialist has filed a lawsuit
to block the United States
from hooking up a computer
system that would automati-
cally launch nuclear missiles
in response to an incoming
Clifford Johnson argues
that it is unconstitutional
to give war-making power to
Ihe so-called launch-on-
warning computer system.
Johnson recently suffered a
legal setback when the
federal district judge declined
to render a decision. The
case will now go to the U.S.
Court of Appeals in San
"As I see it," Johnson says,
"this lawsuit is part of a
slow, long-term process to
extract people from the
maze of nuclear technology.
I'm loosening the first screw,"
he says. "Then maybe some-
one after me will loosen
Although the United States
does not yet officially have
the capability to deploy
the launch-on-warning sys-
tem, the technology to do
so Is definitely being devel-
oped by the Pentagon,
Johnson claims. And, he
says, Secretary of Defense
Caspar Weinberger (who
is the defendant in the law-
suit) has stated that the
United States has not closed
the door on the launch-on-
Not only does Johnson
tear that the launch-on-warn-
ing computer could some-
how malfunction and start a
nuclear war, but he points
out that the satellites and
radar that would warn the
computer of an enemy missile
launch could themselves
sound a false alert, one that
the computer would be
unable to distinguish from the
"To hook this system up in
peacetime is, in essence,
an act of war," Johnson says,
"because there is a definite
risk of it going off acciden-
tally." — Eric Mishara
"A wondrous dream, a fantasy
incarnate, fiction completes
us, mutilated beings bur-
dened with the awful dichot-
omy of having only one life
and the ability to desire
— Mario Vargas Llosa
"If there is hope for men, it is
because we are animals."
— Robert Ardrey
"A nation . . . is just a society
for hating foreigners. "
Raising the temperature of
your head, claims a Califor-
nia scientist, can improve
your thinking performance.
Peter Hancock, an assis-
tant professor in the safety
science and human factors
department of the University
of Southern California, has
developed a helmet that
gradually raises head tem-
Hancock wanted the
potential benefits of heat
without its drawbacks, Rais-
ing overall body temperature
system speed but also
causes heat stress, an effect
producing higher than nor-
mal error rates on perfor-
mance tests. So Hancock
devised an apparatus to raise
head temperature without
raising body temperature.
Using the heating helmet
along with a nonhealing
placebo helmet, Hancock
conducted four preliminary
on 50 people of varying
ages. Hancock tested his
subjects' reaction time to a
light board as well as their
visual-search ability (finding
an e on a printed page full
of f's, for example) and their
skills in simple mathematical
and time-estimation tasks.
Performance speed among
people wearing the special
heating helmet improved 6 to
13 percent, depending on
Hancock points out that
the correlation between body
temperature and human
performance is due to circa-
dian rhythms, vestiges of
mans early evolution. Such
rhythms may be liabilities
to modern man. a creature in
the habit oi working at all
hours of the day and night.
The heating helmet, he says,
promises io alter one such
rhythm. It may even get rid
of the age-old distinction
between "larks and owls."
morning people and night
people.— Stephen Robinett
"History is a thin garment,
easily punctured by a knife
blade called Now."
— Graham Swift
A Paris court recently
awarded a widow the right to
her late husband's sperm
so that she could conceive
his child. The widow, Corrine
Parpalaix, sued a French
sperm bank when it refused
to give her the seed of her
late husband, Alain Parpalaix.
He had made the sperm-
bank deposit after being
diagnosed for testicular can-
cer, the disease that eventu-
ally killed him. but he didn't
provide for disposition of the
sperm in his will.
But trial testimony of rela-
tives established that the
husband had wanted his wife
to bear their common child,
even if conception occurred
after his death. Sperm "is
a human secretion," the Paris
court noted, "that contains
the seed of life and is des-
tined to create a human
being." By making his deposit
at the sperm bank, the hus-
band had created a "specific
contract" for the safekeeping
and eventual return of his
sperm, concluded the court.
(Mrs. Parpalaix was later
inseminated with the sperm
of her late husband, but
fertilization did not occur,)
Increasing numbers of men
are making sperm-bank
deposits, says attorney Lori
Andrews, author of New
Conceptions (St. Martin's
Press). "These men don't
consider what happens to the
sperm if they die. In the
United States," she says,
"sperm banks, unless so in*
structed by the husband's
will, normally don't give
the sperm to the widow."
Instead, she says, they just
"let ii defrost." — Eric Mishara
Sudden infant death syn-
drome, or SIDS. claims
the lives of 6,000 to 7,000
babies each year in the
United States. It's the leading
cause of death in infants
under one year old, and its
cause or causes are still
Now a new clue has sur-
faced. Canadian medical
researchers led by Dr. D. G.
Perrin have found a major
difference in the levels of the
brain chemical dopamine
in the bodies of infants who
have died of S!DS. The
victims had up to ten times
as much dopamine in their
carotid bodies, located
next to the carotid arteries,
as did infants who had died of
The carotid arteries carry
blood to (he brain, and the
researchers call the tenfold
increase in dopamine near
those arteries "particularly
striking." Earlier experiments
have shown that among
other things, dopamine injec-
tions in humans and animals
reduce breathing by acting
directly on the carotid bodies.
Apnea, or cessation of
breathing, is almost always a
symptom of SIDS deaths.
The new study hints that
these very high levels of do-
pamine might cause apnea
and thus SIDS.
Some people, though, are
skeptical. Says Bonnie Nel-
son, a county health nurse in
Washington State who coun-
sels grieving parents of SIDS
victims: "A lot of SIDS studies
don't have enough people
in either the study group
or the control group." The new
report is based on autopsies
SIDS researcher Perrin is
also caulious. The extraordi-
narily high dopamine levels,
he says, may themselves
be only an effect of the real—
and still unknown— cause
of SIDS.— Joel Davis
"Every thought is a feat of
— Robert Frost
"Money has proved the most
dangerous o! man's
— Lewis Mumford
"We do not know more about
mankind than ancient
philosophers did, although
we have more details"
— Eugene Weber
That narrow band of space
where satellites roam is
beginning to resemble an
alley on New Year's Day. But
instead of empty beer cans,
space is crowding up with
its own special brand of
debris: everything from
burned-out rocket engines to
dead satellites. In fact, ac-
cording to a new study by the
Santa Monica, California-
based Rand Corporation, this
"space congestion" could
have dire consequences here
Rand's A. L Hiebert says
that when satellites are too
close together— for example,
when they are shifted to
avoid hitting another object —
they can pick up radio trans-
missions that were intended
for their neighbors. Their
inability to sort out these sig-
nals could lead to mass
electronic confusion. If some
crisis (say. a nuclear war)
were to occur, military satel-
lites would be overloaded
with competing signals,
causing disruption of critical
So far 15,000 pieces of
space junk have been identi-
fied, including more than
1.200 active and inactive sat-
ellites. Since NASA is charg-
ing $35 million to bring
down a single troubled satel-
lite, the cost of salvaging
the entire junkyard is ob-
But there are at least two
techniques that could keep
the problem from getting any
worse. One is to engineer
rocket fuel so as to avoid ex-
plosions, which create hun-
dreds of small pieces —
and problems — instead of
one large one. The second,
and perhaps more promis-
ing, is an international plan
currently under negotiation
that would require all satellites
to carry enough extra fuel
so at the poini of "death" they
could be fired out of harm's
way into a deep-space
graveyard.— Bili La wren
"Light is darkness, lit up. " \ The Frozen Sea Expedition: /
— John Bradbury I triumph lor mixed pairs.
On expeditions requiring
long periods of isolation, male-
female pairs seem to per-
form better and with less
stress than individuals do.
In a study that may have
implications for space expe-
ditions, University of Virginia
George observed small-
group dynamics during the
yearlong Frozen Sea Expedi-
tion to Antarctica,
Led by physician, author,
and explorer Dr. David Lewis,
the four men and two women
were the first people in
nearly 50 years to intentionally
spend winter aboard a ship
in Antarctic ice. Part of the
team traveled through 850
miles of sea ice by sled,
observing break patterns and
collecting biological and
"The two male-female
couples were highly stable
and effective working teams,"
George says, while the two
unattached males "became
antagonistic to the expedi-
tion's aims." At one point, the
two men did not wash for
six months, and they slept
hours longer than other team
members. Eventually, they
were relieved of many duties
and did not accompany
the sled crews.
George believes sexual
trust ration was a minor factor
and attributes difficulties
the two men experienced to
personality and motivational
problems. Although a lengthy
trial sail did not foreshadow
the expedition's problems,
George said that simulations
"as close as possible lo
the real thing" might help
avoid similar trouble.
Noting that her study is
without statistical validity,
George said it is difficult to
reproduce the stress caused
by lite-lhreatening danger
Both she and Lewis rec-
ommend that "nominal quali-
fications should be a sec-
ondary consideration on
pioneering expeditions. Inex-
perienced but positively
motivated people can ... rise
to a high level of achieve-
ment."— Allan Maurer
"Euphoria spreads over our
culture like the broad grin
of an idiot."
Five years ago. first-grader
Elan Patz set out to catch a
school bus in New York Cily's
fashionably funky SoHo
district. But; a kidnapper ap-
parently intervened, and
Patz has not been seen since.
find that one of the most
At left, Etari Patz as he looked live years ago. At right, a
computer-warped projection of what he might look tike today.
difficult aspects of the on-
going search is lhat Patz is
now eleven, with the facial
features of a preteen. making
his five-year-old photographs
Enter New York conceptual
artist Nancy Burson and
her Face Systems, Inc. In
1981 Burson patented an in-
genious procedure whereby
a photograph can be
"stretched" to predict what
the subject will look like in the
future. In Burson's technique
a TV camera scans the
subject's face, then feeds
that visual information to a
digitizer, which translates it
into computer language.
The computer then "warps"
the face in a way that imitates
the effects of aging.
immediately became inter-
ested, and Burson soon
constructed updated com-
puter photos of three missing
children. A Burson photo of
Dee Scofield was shown on
national television, resulting
in several sightings of the
missing girl. These cases
prompted the FBI's interest
and Burson's subsequent
involvement in the case of
But the system has another
application. New York plastic
surgeon Dr. Barry Weintraub
is using a Burson setup to
show patients how they
will look after cosmetic sur-
gery. "It can take the wrinkles
off your face," Burson says,
"shorten your nose, even
reduce your breasts. For
plastic surgeons, it'll be an
— Bill Lawren
'We have art in order not to
die ot the truth."
THE GILMORE EFFECT
On January 17, 1977, the
state of Utah played the
executioner's song for con-
demned killer Gary Gilmore
Apparently, the whole coun-
try was listening: Over the
four days following Gilmore's
death by firing squad the
national homicide rate
dropped by a statistically
significant 5 percent.
This "Gilmore effect" is
one of the highlights of a new
sludy by David Phillips, a
sociologist at the University
of California at San Diego.
Earlier. Phillips had shown that
heavily publicized boxing
matches seem to precipitate
a rise in the nafional homi-
cide rates. "Because boxing
rewards violent behavior,"
Phillips says, "I wanted to see
what happens lo homicide
rates after heavily publicized
events in which violent be-
havior is punished."
Correlating figures from
the National Center for Health
Statistics with "public punish-
ments," Phillips found thai
"there is indeed an average
drop of about ten percent
in homicide rates during the
four days after publicized
harsh punishments." In
contrast, unpublicized harsh
punishments had no effect
on the murder rate,
For those who would herald
these findings as proof of
capital punishment's deterrent
effect, Phillips has a word
of caution. "The heavyweight
question," he says, "is,
Does capital punishment
have a greater deterrent ef-
fect than life sentences?
I found that the murder rate
dropped just as significantly
after highly publicized life
sentences as it did after exe-
cutions." — Bill Lawren
I! you're an orator, there's a
good chance you're right-
faced. If you're musical.
you're probably left-faced.
Facedness, a newly de-
fined feature of brain-hemi-
sphere dominance, is based
on observations ol lip. tongue,
and jaw movemenls. Right-
faced people make more use
of the right side of the face.
While speaking, they raise the
right brow a bit higher than
the left, and [hey often turn
the head to the left when
speaking to display more of
the right side of the face.
For left-faced persons, these
features are reversed.
Karl U. Smith, emeritus
professor of psychology at
the University of Wisconsin-
Madison, uses direct obser-
vation and static clues to
determine facedness. "In a
right-faced person, the
jaw and the brow are closer
together on the left side
than en the right," he says.
"The dominant side tends to
be more open."
People with an aptitude for
rhythm, harmony, and perfor-
mance — musicians, for
instance— tend to be left-
faced, says Smith. People
with good speaking skills —
like politicians — tend to
According to Smith, faced-
ness is genetic and appears
at birth, as opposed to
handedness, which may not
appear until the age of three.
Since perceptual develop-
ment is intricately linked
to lateral dominance and
since infants begin to learn
speech almost immediately,
the study of facedness
could lead to a better under-
standing of dyslexia, speech
disabilities, and other learn-
Smith sees facedness as
the first "concrete, objective
basis for reading cerebral
dominance. That's something
that handedness could
"How narrow our souls be-
come when absorbed in any
present good or ill! It is only
the though! of the future
that makes them great. "
— Johann Paul Richter
A great culture flourishes
in the volcanic Cauca Valley
region of Colombia and
Ecuador centuries before the
birth of Christ. Then one
day, 2,500 years ago, the
mountains burst into explosive
violence, and all traces of
this ancient people vanish.
It sounds like the premise
of an Indiana Jones movie.
which only shows that life
sometimes foreshadows pop
art. The lost culfure is called
Classic Quimbaya. Until
recently, the only evidence of
its existence was a remark-
able collection of gold ob-
jects, the most elegant in the
New World and by far the
most technologically sophis-
ticated, made by a complex
casting process called the
lost-wax technique. Most of
the pieces are small con-
tainers worn around the neck
to carry the lime that South
American Indians chew
with coca leaves.
that this technologically
advanced society must have
developed sometime be-
tween ad 400 and 800. Now
it appears that date has to
be pushed back a full millen-
nium. Graduate studenl
John Isaacson has discov-
ered an ash -cove red town
whose inhabitants traded with
the Quimbaya. The town
was occupied from 1500 B.C.
until it was destroyed by
an eruption in 600 ac— 1,000
years before the rise of the
Inca and Maya.
The eruption that buried
the newly excavated town
was one ol a series that.
devastated the entire Cauca
Valley. Donald Lathrap,
professor of anthropology at
the University of Illinois,
believes the Quimbaya fled
in all directions, bringing
metal technology to the much
more primitive people in
Peru, Central America, and,
No one knows what else
they might have passed
on. The only information we
have about the Classic
Quimbaya at present is that
they were brilliant metallurg-
ists who did coke. "This
small area of a small town is
our first look under the ash."
says Lathrap, "so we're in
the position of trying to figure
out what New York looks
like with the evidence from
an Illinois farmhouse."
— Leah Wallach
"History contains no tacts
but those that are the most
thoroughly improbable from
the standpoint of probability
— Stanislaw Lem
" lis not too late tomorrow to
—John Armstrong, in
The Art of Preserving Health
Someday you may be able
to buy an ounce of cancer
prevention in a bar of bath
soap. So say Ohio Slate
University researchers study-
ing multistage cancer devel-
opment. Many cancers,
they believe, are caused by a
Iwo-step process. First, a
carcinogen alters a cell's
chromosomes. "Still, the cell
may remain viable for years."
explains Dr. Harold Weiss.
Then, later, a " promoter"
substance kicks the trans-
formed cell into wild, cancer-
Though some carcinogens
can act as their own pro-
moters, Weiss thinks it is more
common (or a person to be
exposed to a carcinogen
once and then to a promoter
at a later time,
During their experiments,
the researchers discovered a
chemical that vastly inhibited
skin cancer on mice that
had been exposed to both a
potent carcinogen and
promoters. When the pro-
moters were dissolved in the
common industrial and
research solvent loulene, 75
percent fewer cancers oc-
curred than when a solvent
with neither a promoting
nor inhibiting effect was used.
The inhibiling effect was
not permanent. "The toulene
had to be applied regularly,"
Weiss said. Ironically, the
chemical is itself a mild pro-
moter. "Whether it's better
to be exposed to a weak
promoter to avoid a strong
one is something we can't
answer right now," Weiss said.
But, he adds, the research
may point the way lo devel-
oping substances that if
applied regularly would inhibit
cancer promoters without
At some point in the future,
Wei-s speculates, it may
be possible to include can-
in soap or other cosmetics,
though they would have
to be chemically compati-
ble. — Allan Maurer
"We are at times too ready to
believe that the present is
the only possible state ol
A COMPUTER THAT-
Can a computer memory
be designed that would
imitate human memory?
A typical computer mem-
ory can be likened to a
very tall, very skinny library
of 100,000 floors, with one
book stored per floor. To get
information out, all we have
to know is the floor it's stored
on. This is known as "ad-
dressable memory." Bui our
brains don'! work like that.
Our brains retrieve informa-
tion like this: Let's see, uh, his
name started with an M , /
think . . , he was from La Jolla,
or La Honda, or maybe it
was La Canada, something
with a La in it . . . and anyway,
he kept a baby alligator in
the bathtub, and one time it
bit his date, what's her
name — Donna— with the
pink Mustang— uh, uh. Maur-
ice . . . Maurice Quacken-
Now, though, California
Institute of Technology bio-
physicist John Hopfield has
written a computer program
that remembers like hu-
mans—sort of. He has built a
computer memory out of
the mathematical equivalent
of neurons. Ihe brain's cellu-
lar building blocks.
"The system has one hun-
dred 'neurons,' " explains
Hopfield, "each of which at
any time has a value of zero
or one. One means on,
firing. Zero means it's not
firing. Some of the neurons
are making inhibitory con-
nections to the off neurons to
keep them off. Some make
connections to the firing
neurons to keep them firing.
The memories are in the
pattern of the connections. "
With a set of equations,
Hopfield has endowed a
computer with the ability to
set up simple neural nets the
way the brain does, to re-
member and forget, free-as-
sociate, and even create
false memories. "Every mem-
ory is embedded in many
connections," explains Hop-
field, "and each connection
is involved in several memo-
ries." The result is a system
that can use incomplete
information to find a memory.
Of course, the brain's
neurons are organic, whereas
those in Hopfield 's program
Also, the Caltech program
has only 100 neurons; the hu-
man brain has upward of
Still, Hopfield has achieved
organic intelligence of sorts
in his computer. He's trained
it to act like a limax, a garden
slug that can be conditioned
to avoid potatoes,
— Judith Hooper
"Honesty's praised, then left
to freeze. "
A futuristic. computer might think like this: "Square rootol
sixteen? Six, right? No. roots are round. Wait! I've got il. Four!"
Soon you may no longer
have to take your eyes off the
road lo read your car's in-
strument panel. Instead,
holographic images of your
and fuel gauge will be pro-
jected out over the road,
in front of the car hood.
Heads-up instrument dis-
plays are holographic-imag-
ing systems originally devel-
oped so that fighter pilots
wouldn't have to take their
eyes off the sky. Now several
car makers in America and
Japan are investigating
or developing this technology
Displays (ADD), a Van Nuys,
California, company staffed
by holographers formerly
with Wall Disney Productions,
is working with the Ford
Motor Company on a flip-
down holographic screen that
wouldmerge images from
an electronic display with a
view of the road ahead.
But rather than superimpose
your gauges over oncoming
traflic (an obvious safety
problem). ADD's heads-up
display would project them
forward about 40 teet, and
also downward, so that your
speed and fuel level would
appear beyond the front
edge of the car hood and
down on the pavement.
The 40-foot distance is im-
portant, explains ADD's
Chris Outwater, because the
human eye focuses pretty
much the same for 40 feet as
it does for infinity. The prob-
lem with conventional instru-
ment panels, says Outwater,
is not so much that the driver
has to take his eyes off the
road but that he must con-
stantly refocus his eyes
to read the gauges.
Outwater estimates that
the holographic dashboard
displays could begin appear-
ing in high-end models of
consumer cars within the next
ADD's biggest challenge is
to cut the cost of the system.
Current military models run
about $70,000. Using new
methods to manufacture the
holograms and simpler
electronic displays, the con-
sumer version should add
$500 to SI, 000 to-.lhe car's
sticker price when Ihe first
models appear. — Tim Onosko
"Artists never thrive in colo-
nies. Ants do. What the
budding artist needs is the
privilege oi wrestling with his
problems in solitude — and
now and then a piece of
"God is lor men and religion
for women. "
. — Joseph Conrad
The researcher places a
nervous cat in a metal box.
Next to the box is an odd
machine, a collection of World
War ll-vintage tubes and
The researcher throws the
switch, the machine hums,
and within a few minutes the
cat calms down and stares
transfixed at the walls of
the box. It remains in this
zombielike trance for as long
as 20 to 30 minutes after
the machine is turned off.
The Jerry L. Pettis Memorial
Veterans Hospital, of Loma
Linda, California, is testing
just such a device. The
machine, called a Lida, was
developed in the Soviet
Union and is on loan to the
hospital as part of a U.S./
U.S.S.R. medical exchange
program. The Russian-
language manual that came
with the Lida refers to it as
a "distant pulse treatment
apparatus" for psychological
problems. It's used in Soviet
clinics to treat such problems
as insomnia, hypertension,
and "neurotic disturbances."
(There is also speculation
that the Soviets have an
advanced version of the ma-
chine that can be used for
mind control at a distance.
See "The Mind Fields,"
by Kathleen McAuliffe. Feb-
The concept of the Lida is
as simple as its tube technol-
ogy. The machine broad-
casts powerful radio waves
in Ihe 40-megahertz band.
These low-frequency waves
simulate the brain's own
during periods of deep sleep.
When placed in proximity
to the Lida, a laboratory
animal's brain waves, heart-
beat, and respiration slow
down. "It looks as though in-
stead of taking a Valium,"
says Dr. Ross Adey, chief of
research at the hospital,
"it would be possible to
achieve a similar result, prob-
ably in a safer way. by using
a radio field."
The Lida has not yet been
approved for use on humans
in this country. According
to Adey, however, the Soviets
have been using it to treat
people lor perhaps 25
years. — Nick Engler
"If men were to become even
uniformly mad, they might
agree tolerably well with
each other. "
"The miracle is that the
universe created a part of
itself to study the rest of
it, and that this part, in study-
ing itself, finds the rest of
the universe, in its own natural
—John C. Lilly
■*** <* «* ' »< ^**Vfc.»
A firewalker's burning desire: to
ga/n control or his wor
tographers, a TV news crew, a fire marshal,
two security guards, a maid, a maintenance
man, one oi the hotel's managers, and sev-
eral of Robbins's staff mill about.
"This is a particularly difficult group." says
Richard Greene, Robbins's attorney and
spokesman. Greene hangs close to the fire.
Suffering from the flu, he has just dragged
himself from bed and driven to Palm Springs
(or the firewalk. "Tony's been having a hard
time getting them ready. Some groups seem
to get the feeling quickly, but this has been
one of the hardest."
A few minutes later a messenger emerges
from the hotel, and two young men set to
work with shovels. They load the uncon-
■sumed logs and about half the glowing coals
into a wheelbarrow that 'hey park in a roped-
off spot a short distance away. On parallel
beds of wet sod they spread the remaining
coals in two tracks about three feet wide by
ten feet long. They rake the coals evenly and
beat them flat with the back of the shovel,
sending explosions of sparks into the air. "He
doesn't want it too hot." one explains with
The two fire tenders are still working when
the doors of the building swing open and a
wave of music pours out, followed by Rob-
bins and his stomping, snorting, yelping dis-
ciples, It's a mixed group: children, several
elderly people, a liberal dose of yuppies,
middle-aged men and women. Their feel are
bare, and they roll their pants legs above
their calves. Stripped of all inhibitions, they
prance and toss themselves about. Many
Above: Firewalkers in Tahiti Hop) and Fiji (bot-
tom); Tony Robbins hotfooting it with John But-
fington and Tee 1 Pa_ssanante, two ot his stallers.
Next page: A Greek liredancer prepares fiis
stage (top), liredancer in a stale o( trance (bot-
tom): a Robbins disciple is urged on (far right).
breathe noisily and carry one fist clenched
at the end of a rigid arm.
Robbins leads a chant. "Repeat after me!
As I take the lirst step . . ."
"As I take the first slep!"
"My body will do . . ."
"My body will do!"
"Whatever it takes . . ."
"Whatever it takes!"
"To protect itself!"
"To protect itself!"
Channeling the followers into two lines,
Robbins then moves to the end of one pyre.
Robbins raises his eyes, sucks in some air.
squares his shoulders, and with a brisk, de-
termined walk, strides across the coals. He
navigates the path in lour or five steps. At
the end. where two helpers wait with a
spraying hose, he wipes his feet on Ihe wet
grass to extinguish any burning flecks that
might remain on his soles. Planting his legs
apart, he punches downward with his right
hand and shakes himself.
A wild cheer goes up.
He stations himself beside the lirst person
in line, and one of his staff takes the same
position at the other line. He towers over the
neophyte, pouring a stream of encourage-
ment into her ear. "Now! Slronger than you've
ever been before! You have it!" he shouts,
And the young woman — fist raised, gaz-
ing upward, chanling "Cool moss!" and
slriding with a rigid, stanling posture she has
probably never used before— crosses the
bed of coals into a net of waiting arms and
cries ot "You did it!" and "Wipe your feet!"
The atmosphere is electric: The growing
crowd of those who have passed success-
fully now shares the ordeal of each new ir '
tiate. Shrieks go up as the ecstasy leaks out
of people. The coals darken. Soon incan-
descent lumps are the exception. Looking
upward, some walkers start on a wrong
heading and stray off the bed. Almost all walk
strangely: some stiffly, some leaning for-
ward from the waist, some almost running.
Some walkers shout "Cool moss!' Others
whisper it. None linger on the coals.
A young woman with a I ess- than -robust
air balks once, twice: Robbins keeps at her
"You can! You have it!" She finally walks. A
huge cheer goes up (She alone will later
admit publicly to having blistered.)
By the lime the last disciple pads across,
only a few incandescent coals remain. Rob-
bins signals for fresh coals. A new bed is
laid and smoothed. II glows an almost un-
interrupted orange. He takes three or lour
deep breaths, exhales powerfully, and
strides across the path with a measured
walk. There is a scintillation of strobes: His
feel, turned by Ihe flashes to a corpselike
blue, seem to dance jerkily across the coals.
But there can be no doubt: Anthony Robbins
walks on fire. Many of his followers will say
he has changed their lives. They feel pow-
erful, euphoric, rejuvenated, cleansed.
Professionals credit the experience with in-
creasing iheir incomes; ihe elderly, with re-
Iiet from chronic forget lulness, nearsight-
edness, backache, and their reliance on
"It turned my life around," says Charlotte
Hale, eighty-two, oi Los Angeles, "It's some-
thing greater than confidence; it's reassur-
ance that anything is possible."
The primitive rite does seem miracu-
lous—alter all. there are no unguents, no
tricks, just flesh and coals. But is firewalking
really a victory ol mind over matter? Is ihe
perception of pair ic^poraniy blocked dur-
ing the firewalk, only to surlace later? Or can
science explain — perhaps expose— the
rite's mysteries? Omni's research into the
phenomenon suggests that where there is
smoke, there is not necessarily lire.
Unlike levitalion, walking on water, or
spoon bending, firewalking occurs regularly
in public locations all over the world, and it
has been observed by the sympathetic and
the skeptical. It has appeared in disparate
cultures without evident points of contact: in
Greece and Bulgaria; in Spain; in Brazil and
Belize: in Trinidad, Tahiti, and Japan; in Fiji,
China, India, and Sri Lanka; and in many
places in the United States, from California
and New Mexico to New York.
Investigators have long challenged fire-
walkers' special abilities, In 1935 represen-
tatives of the British Medical Association
journeyed to Fiji to observe islanders troop
about on handball-size volcanic stones that
had been heated among burning logs. The
doctors agreed that the stones were hot, that
the dancers indeed trod upon them, and that
they neither took opiates nor donned any
protection. Furthermore, the dancers' feet did
not burn. Immediately before the ceremony
and afterward, as a sort of impromptu con-
trol, the doctors applied burning cigarettes
to the soles of a few iirewalkers. The Fijians
"reacted normally" — that is, they flinched
and their feet blistered. The doctors said that
while Tantrist Hindu coalwalkers, whom they
had also observed, go into a "trance," Fiji-
ans do not. They could give no explanation
for the firewalkers' lack of injuries.
Decades later, the Fijians realized the
commercial possibilities of their skill; in 1973
they took their act on the road for 37 ap-
pearances in hotels in Hawaii and Canada,
Another nest ol Iirewalkers exists in sev-
"eral villages in northern Greece. In the small
lown ol Lankadas. rhey perform an annual
rile that involves music, daecinc. [he sacri-
fice of a bull, and, lately, a sizable delegation
ot journalists, scientists, and curious on look-
ers. The lirewalkers complain ol Ihaeoiyl
burdens, including he rs;ng cost oi suitable
black bulls and ropes for crowd control,
Thefirewalkers of Lankadas carry effigies
of certain saints with them and are said to
spend half an hour or more on the coals.
They claim the saints protect them from
burns, butthe iocal bishop, with a fairly sure
anthropological instinct, considers the activ-
ity pagan and has "nod to discourage it. He's
been unsuccessful thus far.
In antiquity, nrewa king was a rile of spring.
Sir James Frazer suggested in Ihe Golden
■ Bough that the idea was to warm the. god.
effigies the walkers carried and thereby re-
mind the sun gods to warm the earth and
Ihe crops. Frazer ! s explanation is uncon-
vincing: It would seem that merely lighting a
fire in front of a statue ought to have done
the trick. The exposure of human partici-
pants to the rigors of fire has a more obvious
purpose: It impaesihe magical power of the
ceremony to humans.
In the biblical story of Shadrach, Me-
shach, and Abednego, a mysterious fourth
figure joins the three brothers o! Daniel in the
fiery furnace. He represents divine power.
Theill-temperec Nebuchadnezzar, who has
had them tossed into the fire, interprets their
indemnity as proof of their righteousness.
They have passed the thai by fire.
Trial by fire is having a renaissance, its re-
ligious Irappings have been discarded. But
the movement has several prophets, of which
the most ambitious, conspicuous, and dra-
matic is undoubtedly Anthony Robbins.
Like Other firewalking ; nst motors in the
United States, Robbins claims to sell free-
dom from tear. He insists that' firewalking is
ancillary — the advertisement, not the prod-
uct. But il has mace him somewhat famous
and quite rich, gotten him onto television and
into magazines, and impressed his name
upon the minds of many people who do not
ordinarily take so t imprevomonl seminars.
Robbins is twenty-four years old. He left
Glendora High School, near Los Angeles,
shortly before graduating, resigning the
posl — of which he is still proud — of student
body president. Hewasa"shrimp,"hesays,
when he started high school, but when he
left, he was a near-giant, six foot six with
huge, fleshy hands, size-16feet, and the big,
clean-shaven jaw ol G.I. Joe. His propor-
tions work well on a stage, like the exagger-
ated masks ot No players.
His seminars— they are really more like
revival meetings— are of various forms, and
sizes. He claims to have taught firewalking
to 15,000 people, most of them through, a
four-hour session called "Fear into Power:
The Firewalk Experencc' ($ 100). About 100
people .attend each seminar.
For $2,900 you can spend two weeks with
him at a vacation retreat and become a
"neurolinguistics professional," ■
Robbins conducts the seminars with an
energy that is torrential, tidal. (The knowl-
edge thai one is n rv. no, '1-2 viOO an hour may
have a stimulating effect,) Like tenderleet
shooting rapids in a raft, his clients have little
time to wonder where they are being taken
or why they agreed to go.
By overcoming their tear Of walking on
coals. Robbins says, clients will learn to call
upon hidden courage, This quality will per-
mit them to gain love, linancial success, and
"personal power." Robbins is not modest
about his own power. Using a jargon com-
posed oi words whose normal meaning he
moones or disca'os. he claims Ta: after a
brief observation period, he can know the
"syntax'' of a person's thoughts. In effect, he
claims to be able to duplicate that person's
expertise or accomplishments.
He harps' upon the speed with which he
says he can change people, It usually takes
5 to' 15 minutes to eftect cures of various
neuroses, phobias, and other behavioral
problems — he is the "one-stop therapist,"
Stubborn problems like coma or autism may
require from 15 io 45 minutes. Robbins also
»/n 1935 members of
the British Medical Association
went to Fiji to
watch islanders traverse hot
The doctors could give no
reason for the
Fijians' lack of injuries.^
asserls thai he halved the time spent by the
U.S. Army to train marksmen.
Some ol his cairns are as difficult to verify
as to believe. Spokesmen from the Penta-
gon, Army Training and Doctrine Command,
and the Fort Benn.ng '"arksn ianship school
say iha; -.'airing times have recenlly been
increased, not reduced, and that they can't
recall an Anthony Robbins. Robbins himself
hints darkly that the Army wanlstoi keep his
Robbins attributes his remarkable pow-
ers io 'noiroii-'yusiic programming," or IMLR
which he describes as a "technology" for
understanding ano hlljcncing others. He
takes pleasure in describing how he can
manipulate people's'behavior by giving them
subliminal cues through his "physiology" and
NLP was developed by a therapist and
linguist and is 'based on the techniques of
.several famous psyohoTerapists: Milton Er-
ickson, Virgina Sate. Gregory Bateson. and
Frilz Perls. Unlike some- of the more tradi-
tional psychotherapists, those touting NLP
attach less importance to discovering the
origins, or "content, "ofthe problem, prefer-
ring .to attack its "structure" directly through
hypnotic techniques are other psychother-
apeutic methods. Some therapists consider
this technique cancerousiv manipulative and
question its iheerelical basis. But its more
modest practitioners say that its power is
exaggerated — that it's no more dangerous
lhan .any other kind of knowledge and lhatit
is but dne of a number of valuable therapeu-
Robbins's longer seminars include sev-
eral hours on diet and health. He mixes some
malernal-soundng prescriptions-— regular
exercise, deep breathing, lots of green veg-
etables— with a bizarre theory of disease.
This stew he serves to his clients is sea-
soned with vehemen! arguments against the
consumption of milk ("Cow pus! Do you want
to be a. cow-sucker?"), fermented toods
("They stink; they're rotten!"), and meat,
which he insists gets its flavors irom urea
and colonic flora that travel osmotically
through the cadaver of the slaughtered ani-
mal ("Do you want to eat the urine and shit
of corpses?"). Denying the existence of in-
fection, Robbies odds :hat all oisease is due
io environmental toxins, faulty mental atti-
tudes, or improper nutrition.
Robbins's rapl lislere-'s appear to accept
his assertions. And they soak up Robbins's
enthusiasm. Vivdly cha'ismalie tie- works the
crowd with untinng zos 1 . and easy skill. Firsl
he strides the stage like an athletic Mick
Jagger, delivering nis gag lines with the tim-
ing of a stage comedian, then he murmurs
confidences into a microphone while
slouching, for a rare rest, on a bar stool. He
leads the crowd in sing. eg. clapp'eg. 'lug-
ging, and dancing; he plays silly, congenial
parlor games with them; in a passage of in-
spired hokeyness he slams his list karate
fashion through a couple of pine boards.
Many of his aliens consider Robbins to be
sufficient testimonial for his prescriptions.
Early in the session Robbins announces
lhat he will give the audience subliminal
commands that will enable them, when the
time comes, to "do the impossible" — to walk
on fire. Laterhe conducts a full-fledged hyp-
notic induction. His clients lie on Ihe floor in
the darkened room, their eyes closed, He
leads them, with a -corny recorded accom-
paniment (violins, running water, chirping
birdies, theme from Chariots ot Fire) that he
cues, with occasioea r-palo.n; gestures and
glances at his watch, while sitting in a pool
of light. The lerg:hy sess oo's -ecurring re-
irain is llial Ihe pa-iidpants should go back
Fn 'their minds to a time when they were en-
tirely loved and "comfortable, creative, con- '
fident. curious — like a child."
By midnight 100 people will be ready to
follow Robbins through fire; five or ten will
not, Those who follow mus - . s : gn a waiver.
They also tread on a sheet of soaking-wet
artificial turf before reaching the coals. Of
the 100 who try, a few may be burned, though
not seriously, despite Robbins's insistence
during the seminar that the coals could vir-
tually melt your feet off or even kill you. Burns,
it is understood, will occur only if the walker
is not "in state." How the mind will protect
the feet is obscure, but lobbies -alks abool
Research suggests that blue glows,
pulsing figures, and faces from the past
will light our journey to the stars
BY RONALD K.SIEGEL
Claude was an unlikely selection for Ihe first
contact mission. Short and fai, wearing an
orange suil that bulged with biomedical
equipment, he looked more like a whiskered pumpkin
than a highly trained observer. But strapped into
his rotating pod. he continually scanned the viewing
port for a glimpse of the alien. Watching the strange
creature and tapping his impressions onto computer
keys. Claude nimbly encoded color and shape.
He also watched a screen Hash pictures of Earth
animals for comparison. Finally, he compared the
living alien with the image of a tarantula, a beast he
had never actually seen.
After Claude had observed the alien for hours, the
pod door opened, and the creature crawled inside.
Claude's stubby fingers froze on the computer keys;
he screamed and defecated as his suit automati-
cally delivered a tranquilizer.
This surreal scene took place not in the reaches of
a distant galaxy but in a laboratory at the down-to-
earth campus of the Universily of California at Los
Angeles (UCLA). The pod and suit were designed
by technicians Irom the space-biology program,
the same program lhal prepared nonhuman primates
for space before project Mercury. The pod was an
earthbound capsule programmed to roll, pitch,
and yaw while powerful gyros simulated gravitational
forces. The alien was a living tarantula. And Claude
was a lovable, 20-year-old rhesus monkey, born
and raised in a laboratory that excluded all contact
with other animals. "'
The scientists controlling Claude's voyage were
on a mission of their own: learning how future astro-
nauls might perceive alien environments and the
aliens Ihemselves. Their endeavor, part of the new
field of exopsychology, will help us understand
how astronauts might react to unusual land and life
forms on worlds other than our own. Boldly going
where no Homo sapiens had gone before, Captain
Claude was both pilot and progenitor of our own
journey to alien shores.
That journey begins with the simple but formidable
trait of curiosily. Like the cinematic apes in the
beginning of 2001; A Space Odyssey, all primates,
including man. share the basic drive to explore.
But research with monkeys like Claude indicates that
different individuals will perceive novel stimuli in
different ways. Young monkeys will fearlessly reach
out to contacl alien objects placed in their midst.
Older monkeys, like Claude, with greater visual
experience, are more cautious about Ihe unfamiliar.
And for reasons unknown but deserving of note
by NASAs women astronauts, females are freer and
less overtly cautious in their forays than males are.
Experiments with baboons, moreover, indicate that
the ideal contacl mission would be a team of individ-
uals including at least one female. In the experiments
the primates were systematically exposed to an
alien — a motorized mop that clicked, vibrated, and
moved about their room. The baboons made more
team investigations thai" nciviciual investigations; and
females consistently made more contact than
groups of males did.
■ But regardless of the composition of the contact
PAINTING BY CHRISTIAN BROUTIN
team, dealing with aliens will not be easy.
And the most forbidding of all aliens is likely
to be the looming one. Our reaction to loom-
ing aliens, creatures provoking terror in
monkeys and humans, is triggered when
approaching objecls create a visual pattern
characterized by a rapidly expanding con-
tour. The alien "that oozed slowly out of a me-
teor iii The Blob invited interest, but the
creature lunging at the astronauts in Alien
literally look their breath away. The tranquil-
izer given to Claude might help astronauts
to cope with such unexpected looming, but
the stimulants carried by Gemini and Apollo
astronauts will only increase fear.
Despite the difficulties, primate studies
suggest that teams of astronauts can train
new members to deal with aliens in increas- ■
ingly effective ways. At Ihe Yerkes Regional
Primate Research Center, in Atlanta-. 17 suc-
cessive generations ol chimpanzees were
ie;-'-i'. : ;(j i c.j .- 'heir ability to 'Take contacl with a
simulated satellite, a battery-operated plas-
tic ball thai moved in irregular patterns and
beeped. The first generation consisted of a
trio of the three oldest animals, labeled A, B,
and C. In the second generation A was
dropped, and a youngster, labeled D, was
added. The third generation consisted of C,
D, andf, and so on. Each trio lived together
for several weeks before a satellite landed
on the cage floor,
The result? The first few trios avoided the
satellite, and it wasn't until the fourth gener-
ation that Fmadelenlal've contact. When F
grasped the satell te several limes during the
fifth generation, G followed hisexample. By
the seventeenth generation, everyone was
taking turns in playful scenes that would have
del gnled E.T.'s everywhere.
After a human contact team has been
trained, Ihough, it will have to endure a long
trek to the slars. And studies of modern-day
astronauts have already chronicled an ex-
tensive list of perceptual p'oolems imposed
by the rigors of space.
Perceplual difficulties, in fact, start during
launch, when gravitational forces exert
pressure on the blood vessels of the eye.
The pressure produces phosphenes, spols
of blue and gold light that could be inter-
preted as external objects. As' acceleration
increases, forces become so excessive that
vision is dimmed or blacked out altogether.
Once in orbit, astronauts have even re-
ported flashes o- light streaking by them.
Apolb 14 pilot Edgar Mitchell, for instance,
reported one Hash the: anneared "blue with
a white cast, like a blue diamond"; and Sky-
lab 4 pilol William Pogue reported "tadpoles
about three eighths of an inch long, at arm's
length." The tabloids cum ihese visions are
UFOs. But as it turns out, the flashes are
caused by cosmic nuclei interacting with the
human optical system.
Even without the presence of cosmic par-
ticles, the space environment can turn Ihe
visual apparatus into a miniature theater,
where the eye may project images with or
without the presence of light. Neurons dis-
charging in the retina and visual cortex can
make space seem gray rather than pitch
black. These same neurons may induce
spots, disks, streaks of lightning, glowing
blue arcs, and even checkerboard patterns.
And blinking the eye's will not erase these
patterns but only ilick them into rapid, right-
angle turns, not unlike the movements attrib-
uted to flying saucers.
The Space erivrcnmeri also makes it more
likely to detect images arising within the
structures ol the eye. The astronaut may see
small dancing spots of light caused by the
shadows of red "floater" cells passing
through retinal capillaries. He may see black
lacework against a background of red,
caused by blood vessels that cast shadows
on photosensitive cells within the retina.
Other images could include bright spots
surrounded by a dark ring, caused by tear
fluid or mucus on the cornea; a twinkling im-
age, formed when light is diffracted by ra-
dial fibers of the eye's lens; and pulsating
figures, which result when blood vessels
distend onto underlying receptor cells.
On long missions in space, Ihese basic
lights and images mark the first stage of the
break with our ordinary concept of reality.
Like roadside beacons, they warn the trav-
eler that up ahead lies not only the imagery
of 200Vs stargate corridor bul also the twi-
lighl zone of hallucinations.
FICTION After ten years you know
a house's every
sound. So what do you
do when you
hear something new,
BY RAY BRADBURY PAINTING BY EVELYN TAYLOR
Elara Peck had lived in the old
house for some ten years
before she made the strange
discovery. Halfway upstairs
to the second floor, on the landing,
in the ceiling ... the trapdoor.
"Well, my God!"
She stopped dead, mid-stairs,
to glare at the surprise, daring
it to be true.
"It can't be! How could I have
been so blind? Good grief, (here's
an attic in my house!"
She had marched up and down-
stairs a thousand times on a thou-
sand days and had never seen.
"Damned old fool.' 1
And she almost tripped going
down, having forgotten what she
had come up for in the first place.
Before lunch, she arrived to stand under
the trapdoor again, like a tall, thin, nervous
child with pale hair and cheeks, her too-
bright eyes darting, fixing, staring.
"Now I've discovered the damn thing, what
do I do with it? Storage room up there. I bet.
And she went away, vaguely troubled,
feeling her mind slipping off, out of the sun.
"To hell with that, Clara Peck!" she said,
vacuuming the parlor. "You're still only fifty-
seven. Not senile yet, by God!"
But still, why hadn't she noticed'?
It was the quality of silence, that was it.
Herrool had never leaked, so no water had
ever tapped the ceilings: iho nigh beams had
never shifted in any wind, and there were no
mice. If the rain had whispered, or the beams
groaned, or the mice danced in her attic,
she would have glanced up and iound the
But the house had stayed silent, and she
had stayed blind.
"Bosh] " she cried, at supper. She finished
the dishes, read until ten, went to bed early.
It was during that night that she heard the
first faint Morse-code tapping, the first graf-
fiti scratching above, behind the blank ceil-
ing's pale lunar face.
Half asleep, her lips whispered. "Mouse?"
And then it was dawn.
Going downstairs to fix breakfast, she fixed
the trapdoor with her steady, small-girl stare
and fell her skinny fingers twitch to go fetch
"Hell," she muttered. "Why bother to look
at an empty attic? Next week, maybe."
For about three days after that, the trap-
That is, she forgot to look at it. So it might
as well not have been there.
But around midnight on the third night, she
heard the mouse sounds or the whatever-
Ihey-were sounds drifting across her bed-
room ceiling like milkweed ghosts touching
the lost surfaces of the moon.
From that odd thought she shifted to tum-
bleweeds or dandelion seeds or just plain
dust shaken from an attic sill.
She thought of sleep, but the thought didn't
take. Lying flat in her bed, she watched the
ceiling so fixedly that she felt she could X-
ray whatever it was that cavorted behind the
A flea circus? A tribe of gypsy mice in ex-
odus from a neighbor's house? Several had
been shrouded recently to look like dark cir-
cus tents so that pest killers could toss in
killer bombs and run off to let the secret life
in the places die. .
The secret life had most probably packed
iis fur luggage and lied. Clara Peck's board-
ing-house attic, free meals, was their new
home away from home.
And yet . . .
As she stared, the sounds began again.
They shaped themselves in patterns across
the wide ceiling's brow: long lingernails that.-
scraping, wandered to this corner and that
of the shut-away chamber above.
Clara Peck held her breath.
The patterns increased. The soft prowl-
ings began to cluster toward an area above
and beyond her bedroom door. It was as if
the tiny creatures, whatever they were; were
nuzzling another secret door, above, want-
ing out. Slowly, Clara Peck sat up in her bed.
and slowly she put her weight to the floor,
not wanting it to creak. Slowly she cracked
her bedroom door. She peered out into a
hall flooded with cold light from a full moon,
which poured through the landing window
to show her —
Now, as if summoned by her warmth, the
sounds of the liny, lost ghost feet above
rushed to cluster and fret at the rim of the
Christ! thought Clara Peck, They hear me.
They want me to —
The trapdoor shuddered gently with the
tiny rocking weights of whatever it was arus-
tle up there.
And more and more of the invisible spider ■
feet or rodent feet or the blown curls of old
she heard the mouse sounds
or the whatever-
they-were sounds drifting
across her ceiling
like milkweed ghosts
touching the lost
surfaces of the moon3
and yellowed newspapers touched and rus-
tled the wooden frame.
Louder and still louder.
Clara started io yell: "Git!"
When the phone rang.
"Gah!" gasped Clara Peck.
She felt a ton of blood plunge like a bro-
ken weight down her frame'to crush her toes.
She ran to .seize, lift, and strangle the
"Clara! It's Emma Crowley! What's wrong?"
"My God!" shouted Clara. "You scared the
hell out of me! Emma, why are you calling
There was a long silence as the woman
across town found her own breath.
"It's silly, 1 couldn't sleep. I had a hunch — "
"Ernma^ — "
"No, let me finish. All of a sudden I thought,
Sara's not well, or Clara's hurt, or — "
Clara P.eck sank to the edge of the bed,
the weighl ol Emma's voice pulling her down.
Eyes shut, she nodded.
"Clara," said Emma, a thousand miles off,
"you — all right?" . ,
'All- right," said Clara, at last.
"Not sick? House ain't on fire?"
"No, no. No."
"Thank God. Silly me. Forgive?"
"Well, then . . . good night."
And ^Emma Crowley hung up.
Clara Peck sat looking at the receiver for
a full minute, listening to Ihe signal, which
said that someone had gone away, and then
at last she placed the phone blindly back in
its cradle. She went back out to look up at
It was quiet. Only a pattern of leaves, from
the window, flickered and tossed on its
Clara blinked at the ceiling.
"Think you're smart, don't you?" There were
no more prowls, dances, murmurs, or mouse
pavanes for the rest of that night.
The sounds returned, three nighls later,
and they were larger.
"Not mice," said Clara Peck. "Good-size
In answer, the ceiling above executed an
intricate cross-currenting ballet, without mu-
sic. This toe dancing, ol a most peculiar sort,
continued until the moon sank.
Then, as soon as the light failed, the house
grew silent, and only Clara Peck took up
breathing and life, again.
By the end of the week the patterns were
more geometrical. The sounds echoed in
every upstairs room: the sewing room, the
old bedroom, and in the library, where some
former occupant had once turned Ihe pages
and gazed over a sea of chestnut trees.
On the tenth night, all eyes and no face,
with Ihe sounds coming in drumbeats and
weird syncopations, at three in the morning,
Clara Peck flung her sweaty hand at the
telephone to dial Emma Crowley.
"Clara! I knew you'd call!"
"Emma, it's three a.m. Aren't you sur-
"No. 1 been lying here thinking of you. I
wanted to call, but felt a fool. Something is
"Emma, answer me this. If a house has an
empty attic for years, and all of a sudden
has an attic full of things, how come?"
"I didn't know you had an attic — "
"Who did? Listen, what siarted as mice
then sounded like rats and now sounds like
cats running around up there. What'll I do?"
"The telephone number of the Ratzaway
Pest Team on Main Street is — wait. Here:
Main seven seven seven nine nine. You sure
sorncil ling's in your attic?"
"The whole .damned high-school track
"Who used to live in your house, Clara?"
"I mean, it's been clean all this time, right,
and now, well, infested. Anyone ever die
"Sure, if someone died there, maybe you
haven't got mice, at ail. "
"You trying to tell me — ghosts?"
"Don't you believe in—"
"Ghosts or so-called friends who try
3Y BRIAN McKERNAf
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Resnick had almost everything —
money, power, women. Now he's got something even
better: the chance to live forever
BY GREGORY BENFORD
The man who was going to live
forever looked happy.
He came out of the hospital
doors into the biting January
cold — a burly, tanned figure in a Wert-
meiler topcoat with the special cobalt
mist, textured sleeves, and black fur
mil. Walter James Resnick. a walking
Ofl to the side, near the curb. Bren-
nan studied the crowd. Their faces
jumped into prominence as the big
lights went on, welcoming Resnick's
exit, pinning him in kilowatts of bold
illumination. Resnick stopped, grin-
ning — perfect teeth set against
smooth skin. There was no sign of the
treatments, no washed-oui look
around the eyes, no thinning of the im-
maculately combed black hair. He
waved with the casualness of habit.
looking at the mob without seeing it
Resnick's advisers flanked him,
basking in the spontaneous applause
and shouts. The crowd was in a good
mood. The media had made Res-
nick's long battle with bone-marrow
cancer the stuff of legend — a lonely
struggle against apparently impossi-
How had that commentator put it last
night? "The startling outcome _ capped
one of the most uplifting news events
ol recent memory."
Sure, if your memory was maybe
three weeks long. Mobs didn't have
memories, though, and this one
showed it. They called out to him, blew
him kisses, clapped their gloved
hands wildly, jumped up and down to
get a better look.
Resnick gave the two-fingered V
sign. They applauded more.
Some shoved and wriggled to get
closer to the TV remote crew, mug-
ging for the cameras. The interview
was already in the can. shot inside, so
the crew was just waiting, bored, for a
tiller of Resnick leaving the hospital.
Important people always had
crowds wailing outside. You had to
splice some of that into the footage: it
was part of the business. Otherwise,
how could you really be sure who was
importanl? Brennan grinned humor-
lessly. He had been a minor stringer
for the city's second-largest paper the
Herald, for thirty years. It had taught
him a lot about the chasm between
:he public and the private.
Resnick made a little speech that
the wind caught and tore away. The
gusts brought light snow that llared
irto ex sience under the glaring lights
and then whirled away, darting under
the tires of traffic, making slush.
A big snowflake stuck on Resnick's
cream shirt, next to the florid Demar-
cus tie. The speech ended. It would
be ironic if the immortal man caught
pneumonia leaving the hospital.
Resnick shook hands with the di-
PAINTING BY ROBIN MULLER
rector of the hospital and with the head sci-
entist for the research projecl, getting
through the little ceremony lor Ihe cameras
as gracefully as possible. Then he ducked
toward a black limousine.
The crowd. cheered and surged toward
him. It was always that way with big celebs,
but this time Ihere was a frantic edge to the
He's leaving, Brennan could imagine them
thinking. Our brush with immortality, with'
something bigger than we are. The healthy,
well-muscled frame bowed and slipped
through the limousine door, not looking back..
Don't go, not yet.
Resnick went. The limousine pulled out.
Faceless assistants had slipped into Ihe front
seats. The darkened windows showed noth-
ing. Brennan couldn't even tell where Res-
nick was sitting.
Brennan brushed by a man who was say-
ing to a woman, "I'll be able to say I saw the
first one, righl when he came out."
The woman said, "Hey, did you see the
way he looked? Like he'd just been to Flor-
ida or somethin'."
"Yeah, instead of lyin' around in a bottle
for three months."
"News said he didn't even know it. Thought
he'd been asleep overnight or somethin'."
They both laughed.
Brennan was parked illegally halfway
down the block. The sudden snow flurry had
predictably jammed up traffic, so he kept
pace wi!h the limo. He lucked his hands inlo
the pockets of his cloth overcoat and stud-
ied the building on his left. The driver never
looked his way.
There was a parking ticket under his
windshield wiper. He crumpled it up and
threw it into the gutter.
Brennan slid behind the wheel of his
anonymous blue sedan as the traffic light
changed to green.
He edged out into traffic and gunned the
engine. The light turned yellow before he
reached the corner.
His stomach knotted. He tramped down,
hunching over the wheel.
The sedan had no pickup worth speaking
of. It bucked once and accelerated slug-
gishly into the intersection.
Red light. A horn blared to his left, frighl-
eningly close. Then he was through, and the
lanes were clear in front. He kept his speed,
peering ahead through the water-speckled
He closed his eyes and felt nausea, fear.
His stomach wouldn't unknot. Ruby taillighis
coasted by ahead of him, but he could not
tell which was the limo.
One block. Two.
Had they turned off? The papers said
Resnick would go to ihe Hilton. Some movie
and TV people were putting on a party for
him, welcoming him back, like he'd been
away on a long trip or something. Resnick
hadn't made his money in the media, but he
had friends in it.
But if he was going to the Hilton he should
be right ahead, on Park Drive. That would
be the direct route, .
Another block. Brennan was getting wor-
ried. JHis stomach started tightening up
again. Tension always brought that on. That,
and the hot sensation lower down, like he
had to take a crap all of a sudden. Only he
never did, it just felt that way. Humiliating. He
had gotten used to it, but it still made his
He came to a big, glowing department
store. It was closed, but the lights were still
on. An ivory glow poured onto the street
A grocery truck slid into the left-turn lane,
clearing his view, and he suddenly saw the
limo. He sped up. The limo pulled into the
Brennan realized that he was going too
fast to change lanes. He had to pass ihem,
looking straight ahead. They turned right.
Not going to the Hilton, not unless the
chauffeur was a complete moron. So much
for the papers.
Then again, maybe Resnick wasn't in any
particular hurry to get there. After all, Ihe man
6/\ big snowflake
stuck on Resnick's shirt
right next to the
. Demarcus tie. The speech
stopped. It would
be ironic if the immortal man
leaving the hospital*
now had all the time in the world.
Brennan turned into the next driveway. It
was a big sleel and glass bank, with a
sprawling parking lot. He crossed the lot. At
the far end there was a wooden barrier and
a ticket-taking machine.
He went through. Trio wood snapped off,
and a hooter slar'oo blaring behind him. He
turned right again into a side street. Down
hall a block, tires hissing on the glossy black.
The warm, musty smell of the sedan's heater
seeped intofhe air.
A red light here, coming up. He slowed,
looked both ways. Nobody to the right. This
one looked like a long light. As he went into
the turn, he spotted ruby taillights a block
away on Ihe left. Nobody else on the street.
He went through the red light and swerved
left, tires screeching.
He hit the gas hard. The ruby lights ahead
got closer, and then they turned ofi into a
driveway. It was the limo.
He stopped fifty yards Irom the driveway.
The tightness .in his belly rode like a stone
as he walked down the driveway and into a
big turnaround for the entrance of an apart-
There was a parking attendant driving a
Mercedes away, and the limo was empty.
Beyond it was a big well-lit toyer. Brennan
could see Resnick leaving the foyer through
some revolving doors.
He followed, going past the attendant
without a glance. It worked. Beyond the re-
volving door was a sprawling inner garden,
taking up half the ground floor. It gave the
impression of passing through a stand of
trees, with a gaily tinkling fountain halfway
through. Brennan stopped just before the
stone path reached large glass doors, be-
cause through them he could see a guard
in uniform. An elevator door was closing on
Damn. He might be in there tor days.
There was probably some smart way to
get past thai guard, but Brennan couldn't
think of any.
He walked over to Ihe elevator. "When's
he coming down?" he asked the guard.
"He doesn't tell me, bud." The eyes nar-
rowed. "What you want?"
"I'm Herb Brennan, a reporter for the Her-
ald" People never knew what a stringer was,
that he just sent in occasional pieces and
didn't have steady newspaper work, so re-
porter" went down better.
"You got ID?"
Brennan took out the little leather packet
and unfolded to the Herald card.
The man nodded. "No reporters inside,
that's the word."
" Brennan sighed realistically. "Yeah, print
media are always the last."
"Hell, Resnick wouldn't let CBS follow him
around, even — that's what I heard. You got
no reason to bitch."
Brennan shrugged. "Yeah, maybe you're
right. Can I wait here?"
"No way, man." The guard sucked on his
teeth. "Resnick's security people say no-
body should be allowed to wait inside the
"Why not? Are they afraid I'm going to
breathe on him?"
The guard laughed. "Guess so. They even
had their men outside in those trees, earlier.
Waiting for him."
"Okay it I wait outside?"
■ He nodded. "I guess so. Stay off the path-
way, though. Management don't like people
blocking the way."
He went out. It had gone pretty well. Once
people knew who you were they looked right
through you, and you could get your job
He stepped back into the trees and
watched the guard for a while. The man didn't
look out into the garden often, just sat at a
desk and watched a television. Brennan
could see a fraction of the screen reflected
in one of the doors.
It took him several minutes to realize the
guard wasn't watching a TV program. Itwas
a security snooper, fed by cameras in the
building. He glanced around nervously.
There — two inconspicuous snouts hanging
near the foyer. And another one nearer, just
3 OM PACE 102
Welcome to the world of
trance, where anything
BY PAUL BAGNE
The woman closes her eyes
and drifts into another world;
a toeiing of peace comes
over her. The hypnotist,
fades away until he is just a quiet.
soothing, disembodied voice.
"In a few moments you are going
to go back in time," psychologist
Jean-Roch Laurence says gently.
"You are getting smaller and
smaller. When you reach age five,
will you raise your index finger?"
"Where are you right now?"
"Write your name for me."
He watches as she picks up a
pencil and works intently at printing
out her name, one letter at a time.
Later the woman describes'
what was going on in her mind
during the trance: "I was two
people, one standing off to the
side looking at the other. One was
standing, saying, 'You can write
your name. Why are you taking so
long?' Yet the one writing was
struggling to form those letters."
The hypnosis session had
enabled her to relive some of her
experiences and feelings as a
child. II also made her aware of
being another presence observing
the scene, She was describing
a unique experience, the sensation
of duality, a phenomenon called
the hidden observer,
"This research is bringing us closer to
seeing consciousness as truly multilevel,"
explains Laurence, of the University of Wa-
terloo, near Toronto, where the experiment
was conducted. "We may be observing an
always aware and adaptive part of con-
sciousness, one that is present all the time."
Laurence's work is part of a new wave of
interest in a centuries-old discovery, that al-
tered state of consciousness known as hyp-
nosis. With it, he and other scientists have
been making some strange new discoveries
about perception — how we remember the
past and how we experience the present —
and about an untapped healing power in the
mind, a power that can influence even indi-
vidual cells in the human body.
Mucti of the work done by Laurence and
others has consisted of duplicating and ex-
panding upon the research done in the Sev-
enties by psychologist Ernest Hilgard, now
professor emeritus at Stanford University.
Hilgard discovered the phenomenon of the
It started when Hilgard was investigating
the well-known ability of hypnotized people
to suppress pain. As long ago as the 1830s.
doctors used hypnosis as a painkiller in
childbirth and in dental and medical sur-
gery. But because of the elusive nature of
hypnosis, it was hard to discern exactly how
this worked. Unlike acupuncture, hypnotic
pain relief does not seem to come from a
release .of endorphins — the body's natural
painkillers — -or any olher compound.
Hilgard had already discovered that the
mind can function on two levels simulta-
neously. In a typical test, he was able to get
a group of hypnotized subjects to rattle off
the names of the colors on a chart, unaware
that at the same time one of their hands,
shielded from view, was holding a pencil and
adding up a column of figures.
"We had been doing some automatic writ-
ing to demonstrate how the mind can have
divided controls," he says. For his pain re-
search, he devised automatic talking, a vari-
ation of that technique. "It says things that
conscious awareness knows nothing about,"
Hilgard explains. "It's a little bit like talking in
In one experiment, the hypnotized sub-
jects were told thai one arm would be im-
pervious to pain. Hilgard then applied a
tourniquet and twisted it until it was tight. He
left it on for eight minutes. During that time
the discomfort should have increased, yet
when the hypnotized subjects were ques-
tioned, none reported any sensations of pain
Then the hypnotist said, "When I place my
hand on your shoulder, I will be able to talk
to a hidden part of you that knows things that
are going on in your body." The subjects im-
mediately acknowledged the pain in their
sore arms. "To the hidden observer it was a
matter of fact," Hilgard recalls. "The pain was
registered, but it. was not available to con-
Hilgard suggests that the information
about the pain is made inaccessible in much
the same way stored knowledge can be
made inaccessible to someone in hypnoti-
cally induced amnesia. For example, a per-
son under hypnosis can be told to forgel the
name of his best friend. Although the knowl-
edge is there, the conscious mind cannot
retrieve it. Hilgard therefore suggests that
there are two control systems in the body —
thai there is a split consciousness at work.
Now researchers al two- Canadian uni-
versities, Montreal's Concordia and Water-
loo, are taking some of Hilgard's findings one
step further. Laurence and his colleagues
have found that this two-level model of the
mind applies to much more than pain relief.
"This multilevel processing goes on in
everyday life," Laurence says.
In the course of investigating the value of
hypnosis for police work, they found that the
hidden-observer element can have surpris-
ing effects on how accurately hypnotized
Typically, a forensic hypnotist may try to
get a witness to review a crime by regress-
ing him to the day of the event. The hypnotist
Q was two
people, one standing off to the
, at the other. The one
. saying, 'You can write your
are you taking so long?V
may then tell I he subject to locus on a detail,
to zoom in on a license plate, for example. If
the witness did not see the license plate
clearly, this reguest could become a pow-
erful suggestion to hallucinate an answer.
"The boundaries that gu : co us in every-
day life do not hold in hypnosis," explains
one of the investigators, Kenneth Bowers,
professor of psychology al Waterloo. "When
you age-regress people, some are able to ■
reestablish contact with extraordinary viv-
idness. But there is no guarantee that it's true.
You can get a Very convincing combination
offantasy and reality." Hypnotized wit-
nesses may perceive fantasy as fact.
In a. neat demonstration of this, Laurence
and fellow psychologisi Canibell Perry, of
Concordia, recruited a group of 27 highly
hypnotizabfe subjects. They asked each
participant to pick one night on which thai
person knew he had slept soundly. They later
regressed each subject under hypnosis to
that night. and asxeci the suggestive ques-
tion, "Do you hear a loud noise?" Seventeen
group members claimed they did. During the
trance, many went on to fabricate elaborate
stories about strange happenings in the
night: After they came out of the trance, 13
members of that group were convinced Ihey
had been awakened by a noise that night.
A week later Laurence challenged this re-
call by showing participants videotapes of
the hypnosis session. S:ill. s ; x of the subjects
persisted. Said one, "I'm pretty damned
certain — I'm posiliva.l heard these noises."
Comments like this show how using hypno-
sis to enhance a witness's memory can cre-
ate fantasy as easily as it recalls factual
memory. Later, during a pain test, the six
people also showed the hidden observer at
work in their minds. This presented a prob-
lem to the psychologists.
"If we were to stick withHraard's idea that
the observer is the part of the self that mon-
itors reality, then those who have it should
be the ones to know the true source of the
noise — and to reject that memory, " explains
Laurence. Because the exact opposite was
true, he now suggests that the hidden ob-
server does not confront reality so much as
interpret it. In the example of those who hal-
lucinated sounds, Laurence says the sound
seemed so vivid they weren't sure whether
they had heard it or not. In the end they re- .
solved the confusion by fixing it in their
memories as real.
Laurence thinks that what he's seeing
during hypnosis — and this is the thrust of his
experiments — is one way people adapt in
fife, by reconstructing the past to conform
with present perceptions. Memory is "not like
a tape recording," suggests Laurence. "It's
a combination of what occurred and how it
fits into one's perceptions — more in line with
one's self-concept and way of looking at life!"'
This multilevel way of processing infor-
mation has also turned up in research done
by Bowers. Intuition, he says, is similarly
complex. During the course of one three-
year experiment, he presented a group of
people (not hypnotized) with forced-choice
tests. For example, they were shown two sets
ot word triads and asked to select the triplet
that was made up of relaled components —
that is, which set was coherent. For exam-
ple, a coherent triad would beraf, moon, and
blue, because each word relates to cheese.
If the test takers could not choose the coher-
ent set by using logic, they were told to guess
and to keep track of their guesses. Bowers
wanted to find out whether intuition would
guide them toward the correct answer, in this
case, the coherent triad.
"The answer is yes," says Bowers. In about
60 percent of the guesses, his test takers
gave the correct answer. 'At some level there
is a preanalytic processing of information that
allows one to sense where the coherence is
before one realizes what it consists of." And
that processing, he believes, is intuition. Rel-
evant experiences bob up from memory and
unconsciously influence the guesser's de-
cision. "The implicit coherence then snaps
into focus," he says. "This is often referred
to as insight."
Only by acknowledging what Bowers calls
the multilevel quality of human perception
can we begin to appreciate the subtle com-
plexities of the mind, says Bower. In his work,
as a psychologist he uses -"ore traditional
CON I INULD ON PA.GL 1 12
A master of Japanese design
uses wry, good-natured humor to drop viewers
through a trapdoor of surprise
BY OWEN DAVES
Humor, claimed writer James Thur
ber. who had reason to know, "is
rious thing. I like to think of it as one of
our greates! and earliest national re-
sources, which must be preserved ai
all costs." One of Japan's most
live sculptors, Shigeo Fukuda, would
understand and agree. Fukuda is Ja-
pan's emperor of asobi, a concept thai
combines both play and space. Asobi
holds a place in Japanese life that is
difficult to comprehend for anyone
who has grown up in less densely
packed environs. Japan crams hall the
population of the United States into an
area smaller than California. Three
fourths of the country is so mountain-
ous that few can live there. Half Ihe
Japanese live within a lew hundred
miles of Tokyo; more than 30 million
reside in the metropolitan area alone.
An apartment with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and
bath is often smaller than most American rooms: -one third
dl them are a scant 11 feet square. Relief from crowding is
impossible, yet necessary, given Japan's population swells.
That is where Fukuda's asobi comes in. Fukuda creates
a kind of visual humor that Iranscends crowding by rede-
fining space itself. At his house in Kamikitazawa, Fukuda's
technique soon becomes clear. Whal appears to be the
front door opens to a blank wall. The real door is in the
seemingly blank wall at the left. A life-size portrait of Fu-
kuda himself stands in front, Clearly he is a master of illu-
sion, creating the life-giving sense of
space where none is available.
Many of Fukuda's works are simple
whimsies that decorale his home— a
triangular phonograph record, a three-
bladed scissors, or the plaster heads
of cabbage and lettuce, draped with
a huge Iried egg. Other undertakings
are more ambitious.
In one of his creations, faces of
Beethoven and Lincoln emerge from
the tiled floor of a department store. In
the photograph at left, Fukuda fits his
profile into a sculpture based on the
famed illusion of a vase that suddenly
becomes two faces looking at each
other when the viewer's attention shifts.
In each, astonishment carries the
viewer away from coniined surround-
ings for a lew precious moments.
Fukuda's best -known works, and
probably his most ingenious, are sculptures that change
from one object to another when roiated 90 c . Many capture
two facets of a single event or object, like his image of early
morning (left), a yellow sunrise united with a cup of coffee.
It was two of these sculptures — Encore, a violinist who,
when rotated, is transformed into a pianisl, and Esroh, a
white horse that, when seen from the side, becomes a red
one lying on its back — lhal brought Fukuda the first down
payment on his growing recognition in the United States.
Recent works have continued to view the world from two
sides at once. Witness the self-portrait (next page, left),
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MALCOLM KIRK
space by twisting reality
which is transformed into Fukuda's
first initial, the letter S (above), when
viewed from another angle.
Occasionally, though, the two
images are unrelated, as in the
woman who metamorphoses into
a fork (right), or an ange! who turns
into the word sample. As always,
Fukuda's goal is to drop his view-
ers out of the environment and
through the trapdoor of surprise.
Japan long ago learned lo cram
the greatest utility into the smallest
possible niche. No wonder, then,
that Fukuda has won great honor
in recent years. As concrete and
hard-edged technology spread
through the Japanese islands, the
need for escape presses ever
harder Asobi becomes better ap-
preciated each year, as does its
good-humored emperor. DO
9IW WQ* ^w
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 48
"rearranging the molecules" of the feet. He
also admits thai he bmsell has been burned
on two occasions. One time, the hosl o! a
talk show distractec Hobbirs during his walk;
another time, coals became lodged be-
Firewalking's oromisc is significant: Con-
quer Ihe coals and you can control all bodily
pain. Norman Cousins, formerly the editor
of the Saturday Review and now an acljuncl
professor at the UCLA School of Medicine,
has attended a Robbins seminar and is in-
tensely interested in firewalking. The author
of two books on Ihe subject of sell-healing.
Cousins feels certain that the mind has the
power to affect "physical" processes. Bui
he's candid about not knowing what mech-
anisms are involved, and his uncertainty ex-
tends to firewalking.
"If I would have crossed, I would have
burned," Cousins says. "I, and people like
me, live in the world of cause and effect."
Not understanding what protects walkers
from the fire.Cousins doubts he could have
maintained the necessary menial state. But
he has little doubt that the menial state—
which he characterizes as "blazing deler-
mination" — is real and has untapped cura-
tive potential. "There's something here," he
says, "that has to be taken seriously."
Shuttling between faith and skepticism.
Cousins asks-, "Why is the bed only eight
feet? Why not twelve or sixteen feet? Why is
it necessary to moisten the teel? Does it cor-
relate to the short distance?"
Robbins answered :hal lasl question when,
on New Year's Eve of 1984. 150 people tra-
versed a 35-foot bed of coals — a "Guinness
Book of World Records firewalk," as Richard
Greene proudly put it.
Cousins is not alone in making a connec-
tion between firewalking and healing. Rob-
bins claims that remissions of cancer follow
participation in his sessions. And Or, 0. Carl
Simontom the Fort Worth cancer radiologist
whose "imaging' therapy lor cancer has re-
ceived wide publicity, look Robbins's semi-
nar, walked the coals, and endorsed Ihe ac-
tivity in front of TV news cameras.
Simonlon says thai conventional thera-
pies work only if combined with a confident
and combative mental stance on the part of
the patient. He attributes the failure of pa-
tients to recover to an unconscious "will to
die." His critics contend lhat his is a heart-
less position, particularly in light of the in-
evitable lethality of some cancers.
Many members of the medical commu-
nity readily accept that the mind does affect
the body in certain ways. "I can believe that
mental states afiect immune responses or
even that a person could gain control of what
we think of as local reflexes — ones that aren't
mediated through the brain," says Dr. Sherif
Khattab, a burn specialist with the Los An-
geles County Hospital. "But that the mind
could prevent intense heat from coagulating
protein — that's harder to believe."
Implicit in the idea thai mine; and will con-
trol the world is the corollary that failure is
due not to overwhelming circumstances bul
to weakness of spirit-or to an unconscious
■ desire to fail. It's one of the liabilities of fire-
walking: Those who emerge unscathed
congratulate themselves, those who get
burned often feel crushed. Fire becomes,
as in the Book of Daniel, the test ot right-
eousness. Predictably, several ol those who
have blistered — and thus tailed the test —
have sought psychiatric counseling. More
interesting, pert aps. aro those who pass the
trial and then believe that all their problems
will be easily solved, Says Phil Berctta, a San
' Pedro. California, psychotherapist who has
treated a dozen firewalkers for depression,
"They come away irom this with unreasOn-
abe expectations "
Why shouldn't all other hurdles seem
■ easy 9 Haven't the "faithlul" achieved the im-
possible? Not really. Several scient-le ox
planations are being advanced as to why
■hose peoo ! e can waK en hot coals.-
6/f's one of
the liabilities of firewalking:
emerge unscathed congratulate
who get burned fee! crushed.
the test of righteousness.^
Jearl Walker, professor of physics at
Cleveland State University and longtime au-
thor of Scientific American's Amateur Sci-
entist column, used to walk on a bed of coals
lor nis | ;hysics classes. He slopped doing it
after getting burned once. But he still
plunges his bare hand into a pot of molten
lead after wetting his skin with water. Both
acts are meant to demonsi'a-.e tne l.e den
frost effect, whereby a liquid exposed to in-
tense heat will instantaneously form an in-
sulating, boundar y layer of si earn This is what
protects a drop of water on a hot skillet from.
immediate vaporization: If skates on a filnri
ol steam. In Walker's view, vaporized per-
spiration insulates the fool in Ihe same way
that a little saliva allows you to snuff a candle
flame with your fingertips.
UCLA plasma physicist Bernard Leikind
is skeptical o' 'he importance of the Leiden-
frost effect in firewalking; he views the coals
themselves as the principal factor. He thinks
they are neither su'licient'y dense and mas-
sive nor si.il icionilyqcou conductors of heat
to burn the foot during briel contact .
Laymen, Leikind argues, usually don't
distinguish between temperature and heat.
The motion of molecules is heat. Tempera-
lure is something e'-se it s ar.aogous to "full-
ness." A small container can be filled by an
amount of waler that would barely wet a large
one. Similarly, an object having little mass
can be raised to a high temperature by an
amount of heat energy that would barely
warm something more massive.
Two other factors also' come into play.
Some materials recu.re less neat energy per
unit of weight to raise their temperature a
given amount than others; and heat energy
moves more <ao : dly through some materials
than through others,
Leikind cites the act ol removing a cake
Irom an oven as an example. You open the
oven and thrusl in your hand, The air in the
oven is at the same temperature as the pan,
but i: does no; burn you because it has very
little mass, and therefore contains very little
heat energy. The pan, of course, has a large
amount of heat energy. If you touch it without
a potholder, which is a poor conductor of
heal, you get burned.
Though the temperature of incandescent
coals is at least 1200°F they contain very lit-
tle heat energy because they are not mas-
sive: They are a fluffy, spongy material,. as
light as balsa. But the foot is massive, and
Leikind suggests that its physical properties
are roughly analogous ic Those of water,
When the foot settles upon the coals, he
thinks, the surface layer of the coals loses
its heat to the foot but heats the foot very
little. This is because the foot is much more
massive than the topmost layer of the coals.
Heat energy begins lo flow upward from the
hot lower portion ol the coal. But because
carbon is a poor conductor, the heat moves
slowly, and the foot is gone before signifi-
cant transfer has occurred.
Why, then, do some people get burned,
even seriously burned?
"It's not a controlled experiment," Leikind
says. "People-have different feet, different
ways of walking and tnoy ;ake different paths
over the coals. It's not thai you cannot get
burned; it's just that it is not nearly as likely
as it looks."
Leikind suspects that a sociological factor
plays a role in the low incidence of reported
bums After ai . admitting to being burned
during a Robbins happening is admitting to
failure. Burn specialists add another argu-
ment. The sole of the foot, they say, resists
burning because of its thick, cornified skin.
And that same roughened sk.n makes it par-
ticularly difficult for the layman to recognize
Leikind attended a Robbins seminar with
a friend. UCLA research psychologist Bill
McCarthy. They agreed to conduct an im-
promptu experiment; Leikind would remain
outside to avoid the suggestions ol the sem-
inar; McCarthy would take the seminar, Af-
terward both walked, Leikind twice, the sec-
ond time over a freshly laid bed of coats.
■ Psychologist McCarthy noted that the
Robbins firewalking :echniauo -turn your
eyes upward, clench your fist, breathe heav-
ily, chant "Cool moss," and celebrate when
you reach the end — involves a number of
well-known stratagems for blocking pain.
These include repealing a ma'i:ralike phrase,
looking away from the source Of pain, and
focusing attention on an internal cue, in this
case a Lamaze- ike breath irrj style. He thinks
the hour of Ihe day plays a part, loo: Fire-
walks usually occur after midnight, at a low
point in the cjrcadian cycle, when sensory
activity is generally dull. McCarthy did get
burned slightly, but he felt no pain, nor even
heat, at the time.
Leikind fared better. "Once the coals had
been spread out, they cooled rapidly," he
says. "Incandescence is a simple gauge of
temperature. I saw dark footprints where
• people's feet had been. Robbins's people
claim to be blocking the heat somehow, but
lo me that meant that much of the heat in the
coals was being absorbed by the feet. But
people apparency we'en't getting burned,
so I knew there just couldn't be that much
heat energy present."
In defiance of Robbins's prescription, Lei-
kind looked down, breathed normally, and
thought aboul ihe coals. (Jearl Walker, in his
physics classes, took no mental precau-
Robbins took Leikind's periormance in
stride. It simply shows, he says, that Leikind
has a "belief system" — physics — in which he
has total faith. He dicn't ge- ourned because
he sincerely believed he wouldn't. Actually.
Robbins says, Leikind was "definitely in state"
during his walks.
Leikind's walks were not a controlled ex-
periment, and his success ■.'■.■as r-y. a : : ,-\er-
tific proof; it merely put his hypothesis on an
equal footing with the rnind-over- matter the-
ory. But it is a p-cfcaolc hypcrnesis, he says,
because science does not seek farfetched
reasons forthings that can be accounted for
by simple ones. Robbins is no scientist, nor
are most of his supporters; the principles of
scientists do not concern them.
Norman Cousins would like his scientist
colleagues at UCLA to investigate firewalk-
ing ("How far," he asks, "can blazing deter-
mination carry us?"). But he's' made little
headway, li seems unlikely thai extensive
experiments will be carried out. The pro-
moters of firewalking have nothing to gain by
them, and most scientists, once presentee
with a satisfy ng nypo:hes:s. will probab'y
consider the issue beneath Iheir attention
and perhaps even hazardous to their
The fire is out. The parking lot is nearly
empty again. A barefoot man douses Ihe
beds of coals with water, the TV crews col-
lect their equipment.
A maintenance man, crabbed and el-
derly, shakes his heac o isa op roving ly over
what he has seen. "They ought to keep an
eye on that guy," he mutters.
The fire ma.'shs- is get:irc; ready to leave
He, too, seems disturbed. "I've been trained
for years io keep people fro"i doing what all
these people jls: did. v ol shouldn't play with
fire. Fire arrd 'people don't mix."
And then he adds, as he buttons his uni-
form jacket against the night air;' "But the
power of the mind is a beautiful thing. "DO
In the next thirty years, our
homes, jobs, schools, and very bodies
will be transformed, but the
human character will remain unchanged,
says this shrewd forecaster who
knows how to ask the right questions
UJJJ e it during a television interview, a radio talk show, or the
|^^^ typically tree-form speeches he gives to international
wmmmJ corporate bigwigs, Marvin Cetron always gets asked the
same questions: "What makes you a better long-range forecaster
than anybody else? Why are you more accurate at predicting the
future than those who call themselves futurists?"
"I'm not a futurist," Cetron always replies, "because futurists claim
we'll colonize space in fifty years, even though it's both unneces-
sary and too costly to do it. Futurists prophesy [hat solar power
will energize the world in the twenty-first century, despite the fact
that solar energy costs twice what oil costs today. Futurists fore-
cast what they hope will happen, because these fantasy scenarios
are nice, neat, and clean; the fantasies don't penalize anybody too
much and don't hurt the environment, I deal with facis— with trends
and computers. That's how I make my forecasts."
As founder and president of the Arlington. Virginia, firm ol Fore-
casting International, Cetron conducts computer analyses of the
trends and indicalors that suggest the outcome of series of events.
He forecast, for instance, the collapse of the government of the
Shah of Iran, the unrest and instability in Poland, the political up-
heavals in India, and the militarist stance of Iraq, Long before they
became realities, Cetron predicted no-fault divorce, the graying of
America, new living arrangements between the sexes, and the rise
ol conservatism in this country.
In his book Encounters with the Future, published in 1982, Ce-
tron predicled Reagan's landslide reelection in 1984 at the same
lime that he foresaw the East-West German rapprochement. He
forecast declines in union memberships in the United States and
ihe parallel rise of industry in states thai have "right-to-work" laws.
Cetron predicted the emergence of the robot on the assembly line,
PHOTOGRAPH BY KIM STEELE
and Ihe creation oi :hr; oneckiess and cash-
less socieiy. Because o'd people are living
longer and more pc-oo e ol all ages are get-
ling divorced, he prophesied the advent of
the extended American family.
In his booh, Celron envisioned the run-
away .success ot the pci sorai computer r
homes and businesses and its growing ac-
ceptance in the country's school systems.
He also realized, as did few others, lhal
computers would p'ermii many people to
work at home. Meanwhile, more (rouble in
the Middle East arc using unres". in South
Africa make headlines just as Marvin Celron
once said they would. Already having writ-
ten Jobs oi the Future, Celron is now work-
ing on two other future looking books, ten
■ tatively titled Schools ol the Future and
Women in the Twenly-Fir-1 Century.
Cetron's current forecasts are made to-
day the same way he's always done them,
"The bulk of our data is fed into computers,
and the probability of an event taking place
in the next five, ten. or twenty years is deter-
mined. ' he explains "We look at ihe impact
these events make in five, ten. or twenty
years." He then looks at 200 trends as they
change and plots their points — up, down, or
"wiggling" — on a graph lb extrapolate about ■
a trend and correlate it to other trends, he
uses substitution models and growth anal-
ogies. For instance, in a trend to replace
metal in cars with plastic, he asks: What kinds
of plastic will be substituted with what
changes in cost, strength, function, weight,
and other factors? For a growth analogy he
examines other substitutions ana how well
they've done; synthetic ruooer to- real .\.ib-
ber; artificial sweeter -tvs for '■:•>. k.:.';i' ~hei ■ '■>.-
tron asks: "What has happened to these
■substitutions in the long run. ano why 9 "
"We use sixty-four indicates for stao ity
iaclors. he continues. 'You've go: :o know
whattomea in;-;- mosi
important." Some of Cetron's indicators are
Ihe sedrel ingred onts oi his torccasting rec-
ipe. But- there are two vitat ones he'll talk
about: The first is unemployment among
young unmarriec men between the ages' of
eighteen and thirty — the restless years.
These are Ihe men who will start a revolu-
tion. The second vital indicator is a compar-
ison of the top and bottom ten percent in
income in a given country. What's (he differ-
ence between the Iwo? In Scandinavia, the
difference is only two and a half times, In the
rest of Europe the upper ten oerceni — akes
six to eight times mere money than Ihe lower
ten percent. In Ihe United Slates, it's ten to
eleven times more for the upper tenth. "The
reason we were able to predict the crisis in
Iran," he says, '"is that the income disparity
got out of hand. The lop tenth was making
about thirty : eighl times more money lhan the
Now that the dreaded 1984 has passed,
it seems appropriate to ask Cetron to make
some new forecasts of the changes that may
transform thffUnited States — and the world.
Cetron v ishmgton Post
correspondent Thomas O'Toole, who coau-
thored Encounters With the Future, O'Toole
conducted the interview in Cetron's Arling-
ton office, across the Potomac Rivci iron 1
Washington and within ha ling distance of the
Pentagon, whers Ceiror got Ins start r fore-
casting more than 30 years ago.
Omni: Before any eoi lgraiuiaiions are made
on how well the ; orecas;s n Encounters With
the Future turned out, let's see what wasn't
forecast ano why. Whal d-d you mi's?
Cetron: We missec the war in the Falklands
by a mile. Not only didn't I recognize that
Argentina would invade Ore islands, I also
never guessed that Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher would engage in a war that would
cost one hundred iilty thousand dollars for
every man, woman, and child living under
the British Hag in the Fakancs. Only ahe"-
ward on 'oalizo loal Ihe Bi il is- 1 were really
liglilinc lo' G'itrallai. tor I lory Kong. Im the
I" renel"' r New Caledonia. I he British went
tcw-ai loi rst -or the Falklands but for all the
protectorates around the world.
'•Mr. also missed on Ihe house and Senate
got good grades at Harvard
He knows every time the
• ' Saudis fat! behind
in their loan payments, they 'II
pump more oil
to get their money back 3
.ons by a little. We thought, and rightl
lat President Reagan would again b<
slid back into the 'White House, but v*
food, drugs, ano agriculture. Although they
see Reagan as someone who wants what
they want, they also eesire an opposition that
won't necessarTy go along ■■.■villi Ihe voice In-
Ihe While House Thai's lhok prolcchon
and the reason why Republicans didn't
shirttail their way into Congress wi:h Rea-
Omni: Lei's tat'. .iho-..i! 'ho liruro ol energy.
Energy was a big deal a low years ago: the
Arab oil embargo, easoino iros. hign prices,
smaler cars, -as concern lessened?
Cetron: Saudi Arabia controls Ihe price of
o- .1 :ho -wore conserves energy, the Sau-
dis can produce enough oil to take care of
everyone — and that's wha 1 . s been happen-
ing since 1975. Saudi Arabia has over nine
billion dollars invested n Ihe United Stales.
They're in the middle of developing a whole
new industrial economy, but they have to
keep paying for it. They've got long-term in-
dustrial loans out to 2004. They fell behind
in 1983 by 1.2 billion dollars, by Ghhstmas
1984 they were echthundrec seventy-three
million dollars behind. Sheikh Yamani got
good grades at Harvard Business School.
He knows that every time they fall behind,
they pump more oil to make sure they get
their money back. The more they pump, the
more they create a glut, and the price keeps
dropping. Yet, they have to keep pumping
more to pay their bills. No ihe price of oil will
not skyrocket at any time in the next fifteen
years. II anything, it will come down.
Omni: You deal wilh computers every day.
What does the future hold for computers?
Cetron: The personal-computer business is
growing so fast that I think there will soon be
more computers than television sets in
American households. The crossover point
will probably take place around 2010. but it
all depends on how guickly you get them
into schools. We spent one billion dollars on
all textbooks during the past two hundred
years. We are going to soend one billion do -
lars before 1990 or computer-assisted ed-
ucation. But only one third of all computers
used by kids will be bought by schools. The
rest will be boughl by :hc kds' parents,
Omni: What about the trend for people
working at home with their computers?
Cetron: More and more people will work at
home using computers than will commute to
a job. By 2000. twenty-two percent of the
population will work at home, and twenty-
five years later this will be the case for more
lhan half Ihe country. There are, however,
service jobs that can't oo done at home. Also,
we'll still have to see people face to face in
order to share ideas. I can see people work-
ing alternate days — sharing the same desks
but having their own personal filing cabi- '
nets. As people start -working —ore at home,
telemarketing will come in, You can use tele-
vision, interactive cable, even a telephone
with a WATS line lo call out and an eight hun-
dred number to get incoming calls. The av-
erage sales call wi I eesi between twelve and
seventeen dollars instead of the two hun-
dred dollars it costs now. There should be
as many as eiyh: million people in telemar-
keting in the next century We're talking ma-
jor jobs here. But when the husband and wife
are both regularly working al home with
computers, that's I ne I'mele look tor another
big increase in trie divorce rate, maybe even
a quadrupling of the present rate. You can't
be on top ot each other all Ihe lime: you need
a special place to go.
Omni: What do you flunk wi I become of the
forty- hour workweek?
Cetron: People will still work' staggeringly
long hours in New York and Washington to
succeed. They will still take two and three
jobs when the thirty-two -hour workweek be-
comes standard You're gong to have Ihese
type A personalities all the lime. I think we'll
go to a twenty-hour workweek by the year
2000: so some people will have three jobs.
I myself am a type A person. I'm doing three
jobs right now: I'm publishing books, run-
1 " A
— l it has all these little empty
l ' "U r B i W
of the ei
interesting. Truth to telt, once the
ie dude was on the right-
squealed at the tap of ..., .
Dwed. and the big
. that gut-deep di-
Ich of shuddered-
! you heading?'
He laughed and sf
4fc . . „_
wondering if the engine was as bad as it
sounded. When we were up to speed —
eighty, eighty-five, no smokies on this road —
he asked, "How long you been hauling?"
"It'll do," -
"We're union like everybody else."
"1 heard about that." he said. "In that little
dump about two miles back."
"People live there?" I asked. I didn't think
anything lived along the road,
"Yeah: Real down folks. They said team-
sters bosses get carried in limousines when
"Don't really matter how you get there, I
■ suppose. The trip's short, and the time after
"Getting there's all the Fun?" he asked,
trying for a grin. I gave him a shallow one.
"What're you doing out here?" I asked a
few minutes later. "You aren't dead, are you?"
I'd never heard of dead foik running loose or
looking quite as vital as he did, but I couldn't
imagine anyone else being on the road. Just
dead folks and drivers.
"No," he said. He was quiet for a bit. Then
slow, as if it embarrassed him, "I came to
find my woman."
"Yeah?" Not much surprised me, but that
was a new twist. "There ain't no returning,
"Sherill'sherna'-c, soei.ed like sheriff but
"Got a cigarette?" I asked. 1 didn't smoke,
but I could use it later. He handed me the
last three in a crush-proof pack and didn't
"Haven't heard of her," I said. "But then, I
don't get to converse with everybody I haul.
And there are lots of trucks, lots of drivers."
"I know," he said. "But I heard about them
He had a crazy kind of sad look in his eye
when he glanced at me, and that made me
angry. I tightened my jaw and stared straighl
"You know," he said, "I heard some crazy
stories. About how they use old trains for
China and India, and in Russia there's a
tramline. In Mexico it's old buses along roads,
always at night — "
"Listen. I don't use all the benefits," I said.
"I know some do, but I don't."
"Sure, got you," he said, nodding that ex-
aggerated goddamn young folks' nod, his
whole neck and shoulders moving along, it's
all right, everything's cool.
"How you gonna lind her?"
"I don't know. Do the road, maybe ask the
"How'd you getin 7 "
He didn't answer for a moment. "I'm going
to be here when I die. It's not so hard for folks
like me to get in before. And ... my daddy
was a driver. He told me the route. By the
way, my name's Bill."
"Mine's John/' I said.
"Glad to meet you."
We didn't say much to each other after
that for a while. He stared out the right win-
dow, and I watched the ocser: and faraway
shacks go by.
Soon the mountains came looming up —
space seems compressed on the road, es-
pecially once past the desert — and I sped
up for the approach. There was some noise
from the back.
"What do you do when you get off work?"
"Go home and sleep."
"Nobody knows you're on the run?"
'Llust the union."
"That's the way it was with Daddy, until just
before the end. Look, I didn't mean to make
you mad or nothing. I'd just heard about the
perks, and I thought — " he swallowed, his
Adam's apple bobbing. "Thought you might
be able to help. I don't know how I'll ever find
Sherill. Maybe back in the Annex. . . ."
"Nobody in their right mind goes into the
yards by choice," 1 said. "And you'd have to
look through, everybody that's died in the last
four months. They're way backed up."
Bill took that like a blow across the face,
'•As I geared the
truck down for the decline,
the noise in
the trailers got irritating.
They could smell
what was coming, I guess,
like pigs stepping
up to the man with the knifed
and 1 was sorry I'd said it. "She's only been
gone a week," he said. "She don't belong
I couldn't help bulgrin.
"No, I mean, I belong here but not her. She
was in this car wreck a couple of months
back, got prelly badly messoc up. I'd dealed
her dope at first and then fell in love with her,
and by the time she landed in the hospilal
she was, you know, hooked on about four
My arms stiffened on the wheel.
"I tried to tell her when I visited that it
wouldn't be good for her to get anything, no
more dope, but she begged me. What could
I do? I loved her."
He wasn't looking out the window now. He
was looking down at his worn boots and
hodding. "She begged me, man. So I
brought her stuff. 1 mean, she took it all when
they weren't looking. She just took it all. They
pumped her out, but her insides were just
gone. I didn't hear about her being dead un-
til two days ago, and that really burned me.
I was the only one who loved her, and they
didn't even tell me. I had to go up to her room
and find her bed empty. Jesus. I hung out at
Daddy's union hall. Someone talked to
someone else, and I found her name on a
list. The Low Road."
"I don't use any of those perks," 1 said, just
to make it clear I couldn't help him. "Folks in
back got enough trouble without me, I think
the union went too far there."
"Bet they felt you'd get lonely, need com-
pany," Bill said quieliy. looking at me. "It don't
hurt the folks back there. Maybe give them
another chance to, you know, think things
over. Give 'em relief for a couple of hours, a
break from the mash — "
"Listen, a couple of hours don't mean
nothing in relation to eternity. I'm not so sure
I won't be joining ihem someday, and if that's
the way it is I want it smooth, nobody pulling
me out of a trailer and putting me back in."
"Yeah," he said. "Got you, man. I know
where that's at. But she might be back there
right now, and all you'd have to — "
"Bad enough I'm driving this rig in the first
place." 1 wanted to change the subject.
"Yeah. How'd that happen?"
"Couple of accidents, my premiums went
up to where I couldn't afford payments and
premiums, and finally they took my truck."
"You coulda gone without insurance."
"Not me," I said. "Anyway, some bad word
got out. No companies would hire me. I went
to the union to see if they could help. Told
me I was a dead-ender, either get out of
trucking or-—" I shrugged— "this. I couldn't
leave trucking, it's bad out there, getting
work. Lot of unemployed. Couldn't see my-
self pushing a hack in some big city."
. "No, man," Bill said, giving me that whole-
body nod of his again. He cackled sympa-
"They gave me an advance, enough for a
down payment on my rig." The truck was
grinding a bit but maintaining. Over the
mountains, through a really impressive pass
like from an old engraving, and down in a
very rugged rocky valley, was the City.
"I don't think I'd better go on, "Bill said. "I'll
hitch with some other rig, ask around."
"Well, I'd feel belter if you rode with me
back out of here. Want my advice?" Bad
habit. "Go home."
"No," Bill said. "Thanks anyway. Not with-
out Sherill." He took adeep breath. "I'll try to
work up a trade. 1 stay, she goes to the High
Road. That's the way the game runs down
here, isn't it?"
At the top of the pass I pulled the rig over
and let him out. He waved at me, I waved
back, and we went our separate ways.
The City looks a lot like a county full of big,
white cathedrals. Casting against type. High
wall around the perimeter, stretching as far
as my eye can see. No horizon but a vanish-
ing point, the wall looking like an endless
highway turned on its side. As I geared the
truck down for the decline, the noise in the
trailers got irritating again. They could smell
what was coming, I guess, like pigs step-
ping up to the man with the knife.
I pulled in to the disembarkation terminal
and backed the first trailer up to the holding
pen. Employees let down the gates and used
some weird kind of prod to herd them.
These people were past mortal pain, and
i>lf the picture
doesn't show people, a house, or
a dog, Fotomat
says there's nothing there.*
UFOs. says Ellen Crys-
tal!, seem to like her
And after dozens of
close encounters over
a period of 14 years,
she's gotten to like
Crystatl says she
saw her first UFO In
1971 , while still a teen-
ager, after her family
had mowed to Califor-
nia. "Our neighbors
talked about UFOs,"
she recalls, "and after
a while I saw them,
too. Soon they started
coming closer And
within a few months, I
was so terrified that I
convinced my par
ents to move back to
When Crystall got
back East, though,
she continued to see
the UFOs. And ne-
cessity forced her to assimilate the strange shapes into
everyday life. By 1981, in tact, she was searching for alien
visitors in rural Pine Bush, New York.
Conducting tier Investigation with utologist Harty Lebel-
son. Crystall spent evening after evening in the field. "We
were going to Pine Bush nightly to photograph spaceships
landing in farmers' fields," she claims "In one greatly en-
larged picture, I could even make out a group of live aliens
that looked like something out of the Star Wars bar scene."
The lights vanished Irom Pine Bush m November 1981,
but Crystall often went back to see whether they had re-
turned Last August, she says, she found them. Since Ihen,
"I've taken a lot of people up there, and they've seen the
UFOs. too," she reports. "We go running through ihe fields
in the dark, and we've gotten close several times The UFOs
seem to hold their breath until you start to leave Then lights
come on ten feet away and shoot straight up."
According to Crystall, she's had trouble substantiating the
Pine Bush sightings
because good pho-
tographs are hard to
come by 'The aliens
seem to control who
can take pictures of
them," Crystall ob-
serves. "One person
will get pictures, and
another will get noth-
ing. Usually, I get
pretty good pictures
thai look like showers
ol sparks. I have to
have them developed
by a custom lab,
though. II the picture
doesn't show people,
a house, or a dog, Fo-
tomat says there's
might help, she b&
lieves. "We'ie seeing
of some son and they
give oft short-wave-
length light that's blocked by Ihe glass of an ordin 3
With a quartz lens, I might gel the spacecraft itself Gut a
quartz lens costs $1,500— beyond the budget ol
school musician working her way through New Yoi f
sity as a fill-in secretary.
Despite such handicaps. Crystall believes she has
gleaned a few original insights into the nature of UFOs. "The
metal on these craft seems to be transparent," she says
'They also seem to be able to generate their own cloud
formations. One night, we saw vertical streaks forming, with
moving lights in them. At the same time, a group about a
mile closer heard a loud mechanical screeching. When you
photograph Ihern, you don't get what you see. The lights
don't show up in the pictures "
The reason for that, notes UFO skeptic Robert Sheaffer,
seems clear "What Crystall calls UFOs others might refer to
as dimly lit planes or stars," he says. "The contusion is more
common than you might think."— OWEN DAVIES
Popular belief holds that
people can occasionally
burn up without apparent
cause, doing little damage to
the surrounding environment.
But now a new study indi-
cates that the phenomenon,
known as spontaneous
human combustion, is mere
myth. According to former
detective Joe Nickel! and fo-
rensic analyst John Fischer.
their two-year study links
acceptance ot the so -called
mystery to ignorance and
As part of their proieci,
Nickel! and Fischer investi-
gated a classic case, the
1951 burning death of a sixty-
seven -year-old Florida
woman named Mary Reese.
dubbed the cinder woman
by newspaper reporters. The
standard accounts, they
found, were "long on mystery
but shod on facts."
The truth, Nickeliand
Fischer assert, is thai Reese
took sleeping pills and dozed
ofl with cigarette in hand.
The cigarette ignited the
overstuffed chair on which
she was sitting, and her
caught fire. Her considerable
ihe was 60 pounds
oyer weight— further led the
Names. And i ■
event, the researchers con-
tend, "ob|ects in range or
the fire were damaged
combustion is simi ■■
Mickell maintains. "If you
study the stories on a case-
by- case basis, you find
not just that they can be ex-
plained, but frequently that
the causes are fairly ob-
vious — a victim's pipe is near
the body, or there s ■
lamp next to the remains." In
a humber of instances, the
bodies were found next
Nickell's investigation did.
however, substantiate one
bit ol folklore— that many
victims are heavy drinkers
bustion advocates have
claimed that the presence di
alcohol may help the body
ignite. But Nickell and Fischer
point out that "a drunken
person would be more likely
. to be careless with fire and
less able to properly respond
to an accident."
lember Ango Brazil's
abled "surgeon of the rusty
knife" 9 His reputation was
tarnished as badly as his
cutlery when investigators
removed from unbloody
Greenlield, of the Lin
ol Wisconsin, has been
.., (Iv "I ■ ,-
I ■.,-. -,
. I .
than Ango did
surgery. "he Be
some are trained doctors.
Bui thev bi
contact the spirits of de-
ceased physicians who op-
irough them, with
skills noi a
mg. They operate in
state, without anesthetics or
Though the prar::, i
illegal, Brazil's psyct
geonsare not iaolal
or frauds preying on the
Instead, they are Ca
members of a spiritual sect
with millions of members
in Brazil alone. A pi
tenet ol Cardecism is (he
need lor charily Thus Carde-
cist federations all over
Brazil run a network of hospi-
tals that. Greenfield reports,
may be even more i
than that of the Catholic
The healers specialize in
small operations. 'I've seen
one pull an accident victim
oul of a car wreck and begin
work, the anthropologist
comments. "The one I've
studied most avoids deep-
body operations." Instead, he
removes early breast can-
cers, skin tumors, and fleshy
membranes over the eye.
"He [ust tells the patient to
think of God, holds the
membrane with a pair of for-
ceps, and ships it away
with scissors," says Green-
field, "If he's working before a
large audience, he always
has someone come along
and spit in the incision or
snove a dirty finger into it,
lust lo prove that it will heal
even if not kept sterile"
After the operation, patients
receive antibiotics and other
treatment, just as after con-
ventional surgery. Cancer
patients are given standard
treatment, including chemo-
therapy or radiation.
Greenfield has followed
only a few patients, and
never for longer than three or
four weeks. Most are up
and around the day after sur-
gery, he says, and infections
"In the deepest level ot the
unconscious we find not
fantasies, out telepathy '
—N. 0. Brown
Several years ago. artist
Robert LenKiewicz, of Plym-
outh. England, discovered a
quaint little man named
Edward McKenzie living in a
metal tub stuck in some
tree branches. Lenkiewicz
the tramp Diogenes,
after the Greek philosopher,
and the two soon became
But recently, when Di-
ogenes died of cancer at age
seventy-two, a local under-
taker called the Plymouth
Health Department with some
startling news. Lenkiewicz
was looking for a mortician to
embalm the Old man so
de body could be
preserved and displayed
in the artist's library.
In Lenkiewicz s words
Diogenes would essentially
become "something like
a large paperweight "
Health officials quickly
moved to locate the old man's
remains "But," reports
health officer Robert Fox, "we
were too late. The body
had been released from a
hospital and embalmed
by another mortician, and
now we don't know where the
corpse is bidden. Lenkiewicz
refuses to say where it is
except that it is outside of
Plymouth, where we have no
While investigators question
local people for clues to
Diogenes s whereabouts,
Lenkiewicz ia keeping mum
He argues that he is doing
nothing new because bodies
have been kept as memen-
tos for centuries. "They
are reminders to the living of
their own mortality," Lenkie-
wicz hastens to explain,
Lenkiewicz says Diogenes
looked much like a "miniaiure
Father Christmas" when he
was alive, in death, he adds,
the hobo is "beautiful, haunt-
ing, and strange:
"He'd be smiling at all the
attention and concern he
is getting now. It's more than
he ever goi when he was
alive," Lenkiewicz says
pointing out that the old man
was fully aware of the artist's
plan to keep him on display
in his library.
"That was fine with him,"
Lenkiewicz adds. "He used to
say, 'While you are alive
you can live in clover, but
when you are dead, you are
dead all over; "
— Sherry Baker
"It is not necessary lor the
public to know whether I am
joking or whether I am seri-
ous. iust as it is not necessary
tor me to know it myselt. "
Jane's Spacecraft Direc-
tory, the London-based en-
cyclopedia ot spaceflight.
disclosed a fascinating an-
ecdote in its recent first
edition. Two Soviet cosmo-
nauts, the compendium
announced, decided to drink
away their troubles on an
ill-fated space voyage in 197?
Only the Soyuz 25 crew—
Valen Ryumm and Leonid
Popov— didn't turn to booze.
Instead they saved their
craft by drinking a huge,
weightless blob of wafer
it all started when the cos-
monauts began watering a
group of plants they had
brought along on the flight as
pari of an experiment But
when Ryumin and Popov ac-
cidentally spilled more than
four pints of water, the mishap
almost wrecked the Soviet
space mission. Under
weightless conditions, the
water took on the shape of a
gigantic, wet globule, floating
dangerously near vital equip-
ment and threatening to
There was only one thing
to do. The resourceful Rus-
sians placed themselves
on either side of the hovering
blob and drank it.
While no U.S. spacecraft
has been similarly threatened,
Terry White, of the Johnson
Space Center, in Houston,
points out that American
astronauts have had small
water spills on Skylab and
Apollo missions The crew,"
he says, "had fo fly by and
swat the floating water with a
towel, or — -if It was clean
wafer— they had to drink it"
Mexicans may hot be the
only illegal aliens sneaKmg
over our southern border
According to Dallas geo-
physicist Lindy Whitehursf,
extraterrestrial craft based
m the remote jungles o!
South America constantly
slip past our radar and
into border states, from Texas
The problem, Wi- 11 '-
says, is that those who
control American ra : ■
lantly scan northern regions
most vulnerable to Soviet
nuclear attack, but they
generally ignore airspace in
the south As a rest I
says, an enemy attacking
from the south would be
immune to detection
But UFO skeptic Js
Oberg disagrees. "If Whue-
hurst has noted craft crossing
Ihe border a'
says, "he may be detecting
airborne drug smugglers, not
aliens from outer space."
— Margaret Sachs
"We are hunting tor rational
reasons for believing in
the absurd "
■ ■■ ■ ■ .■ ■
Bui Schullerlin disagrees
believe tiiis was
meanl to happen, to draw
attention to the real meaning
od.tolive. His even
; better Id dream, ana best
of all, mother, is to awaken "
- Antonio Machadv
- , I . ■
ian ly said
March 3. 1984. started out
a typical Saiur
Resell household in Co I urn -
But betore eve-
ning, what the family now
iree had made its
lirsi appearance- Lights
ind oil by them-
garbage disposal and micro-
wave oven went into opera-
tion. The shower began
ng no one
1'iinom. And the
■ i sound although ll
:dolf and the screen
became clear that
• was connected
isence ot fourteen-
eral weeks, sheal-
. iade candlesticks
tumble across Ihe room,
caused a phone to whiz
above the sofa and forced
the hall lamp to swing
Word ol the torce soon
says Tinas mother. Joan,
more than 30 friends and re|-
alives gathered lo watch
\ .around the house
Two religious groups at-
tempted to exorciso the place
bul were unsuccessful in
quieting the seemingly para-
in ABC -TV affiliate
station videotaped a segment
showing Tina near a "flying"
lamp When played back
in slow motion, the tape re-
vealed Tina using her hand to
move the lamp by its cord
proof, many Claimed. Ihat
Ihe case of the Columbus
, an i .
Foundation, in Chapel Hill.
North Carolina, has studied
abilities and insists the teen-
ager moved Ihe lamp be-
cause she wanted lo give the
television crew a dramatic
end lor then ■ report
"I have observed Tina
closely," he said, "and I don't
believe her claims are in
■ any way part of a hoax"
Not everyone agrees,
however A group called
CSICOP (the Committee lor
Ihe Scientific Investigation
of Claims of the Paranormal)
sent a team to Columbus
to investigate the case. Al-
though not allowed in Ihe
Resch home, magician and
CSICOP investigator James
Randi studied photographs
taken by Columbus Dispatch
photographer Fred Shannon,
which appear lo show a
phone Hying through' the air
Randi's conclusion? "One
photograph definitely shows
her pitching the phone
across the room."
But Shannon resents
Randi's comments. "There
was no hoax involved,"
be says "Tina's powers are
frightening, and I feared
for her safety.
"Once, she was sitting on
the arm of a chair with her
arms toward me when I saw
the sofa attack' her II slid
eighteen inches, and I was
afraid it would pin her legs I
also saw the phone fly at
leas! seven limes A couple
of times if hit Tina so hard
According to Tina's mother,
the past year has been
rough on the family and her
daughter, now the obiect
of teasing and ridicule In
school. "She can do this stuff
at will." Joan Resch says.
"But we've told her she can
do it only in the lab.There's
been a lot of damage lo
our house from things flying
around — holes in the walls
and doors Believe me, this is
nothing anybody would
care to go through."
— Sherry Baker
7 fee/ as if I were parachuting
down, down, with no hope
of ever landing."
CONTINUED FROM Pf
ning a business. aiuJ speaking. Last year. I
made one hundred twelve speeches. Any
one of l hose. activities could be a full-time
job. I do it because I enjoy it, otherwise I
would retire. The most important thing is that
you get a job you like and look forward to. If
you like it, you'll work sixty hours, and if you
don't, you'll work twenty hours and feel like
each hour is an imposition.
Omni: Will the computer be a great equal-
izer for women, helping them combine
motherhood and their careers?
Cetron: Absolutely, without question. First of
all. women will be able to work at home. In
1980, forty-live percent of both spouses
worked full time. In 1983, it was fifty-one per-
cent. By 1990, it will be sixty-five percent,
and by 2000 it will be eighty-five percent. If
we're going to a thirty-two-hour workweek
by 1990 and twenty hours by 2000, the av-
erage home will put in forty hours— twenty
for the husband and twenty for the wife.
When that happens, the husband will no
longer come home, flop down in a chair, and
say, "Honey, have you finished cooking din-
ner? If so, make up the bed, and do the laun-
dry and the vacuuming." She's going to tell
him where to put the vacuum cleaner! We
are getting a blurring of sexual roles in the
home, the office, and even the factory, where
twenty percent of the workforce will be fe-
male in the Nineties Lower salaries for so-
called women's jobs will disappear'. Al-
though it's true that nurses, teachers, and
secretaries are pan: loss because those are
considered "women's jobs" and a second
income, this is nonetheless an anachronism.
Those careers constitute primary incomes.
Omni: Do you think the computer will allow
people to feel more; like; individuals when they
do their work?
Cetron: Yes, not comp-eiey. but more so than
now. The reason we have more women in
concert orchestras who are getting the same
pay as men is that when they audition for
those jobs they go behind screens, they take
off their shoes, and whoever plays the in-
strument better — man or woman — gets the
job. The same thing is true in high tech. High
tech is equal. Any young woman who doesn't
get trained in computers and expects some
guy on a white horse to come and carry her
away is one person away from being on wel-
fare. Half of those young women will end up
Omni: What's the future lor low-tech indus-
tries in a high-tech world? Heavy industry
still makes up a large part ol our economy.
Cetron: They'll slay, but fewer people will
work there. We are headed for more auto-
mation, especially in computer-aided de-
sign and manufacturing. I do not see the
world polarizing into only two classes, a
..working class and a leisure class. What I do
envision is one great big middle class —
fewer people at the bottom not making it,
and far fewer at the top making all of it. The
loopholes that allow that to happen are being
eliminated. The most highly paid people in
the land will be writers, painters, musicians,
actors, sculptors, and professional athletes.
These people are unique: They can't be
computerized or robotized. Because only
twenty-live percent of our kids will go to col-
lege, we must create a good service econ-
omy. We need plumbers and electricians,
most notably in the inner city, where we
should instiiute a housing-rehabilitation pro-
gram, such as paying a minimum wage to
lenanls who live in public housing. If they
can make their own repairs, it should come
oil the rent. They could be trained as a group
to do outside construction work as well.
There was a lime when unions wouldn't per-
mit thai, but now they don't have the clout
they used to.
Omni: You talk about both an enormous
middle class and aboul the inner city, which
suggests we'll still have poor people. Is this
Cetron: There will be a poor class, but I be-
lieve it could be a class of people trained to
do special jobs. They may not be reedu-
cated, but they will be retrained to do some-
thing productive. There will be jobs available
for people who haven't got skills, such as
working in day-care centers, in service jobs,
handiwork, things like that. In general, in-
come levels will converge.
Omni: There appear to be too many lawyers
and doctors in America, charging ever-
higher fees. Will this continue?
Celran: We'll move more and more toward
paralegals, with computers doing more and
more of the legwork — the briefing work.
Many paralegals are competing lor legal
work even now. The same job you pay a law-
yer six hundred dollars to do can be done
by a paralegal for seventy-five dollars. Law-
yers are pricing themselves out of the mar-
ket in some cases. I'm not agreeing wiih
Sweden when they say lawyers are para-
sites, but I wonder sometimes about the
contribution lawyers really make. There will
be fewer lawyers, and they'll be paid less.
The same goes for doctors. We are going to
have more paramedics and emergency-
medical technicians working much more in
hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices.
Ompi: Let's talk about the future of the Sun-
bell, Are all the jobs migrating to Florida,
Texas, and Southern California?
Cetron: That's only partly true. Jobs are also
springing up in Allanta, North Carolina, and
Silicon Valley, where unions are weaker and
there are right-to-work laws. The jobs are also
shifting to places that provide lor good vo-
cational training, especially in high tech.
There will be other moves in the Nineties. If
the findings of a study at the University of
New Mexico — that salt water can be used
to grow certain kinds of crops — prove ac-
curate, then states like New Mexico, Ari-
zona, Nevada, southern Utah, and northern
Texas will benefit and start to grow in pop-
ulation. The growth regions of the future must
have a few things going for them. They need
a right-to-work law because it's important for
corporations. They have to have good
schools, good vocational training. That
means having computers in schools and
paying teachers decent salaries. If you're
looking for biomedical engineering and
bionics. Utah is the place to go. For elec-
tronics and microcomputers, it's California.
For manufacturing, then it's the rest ot the
Sunbelt— Florida and Texas in particular.
Within these parts of the country there are
three kinds of industries that are expanding
faster than any others. First is health care,
bionics, biomedical engineering, and ge-
netic research. Universities are important
here, since companies doing the work re-
quire access to professors and good grad-
uate assistants. These companies flourish in
California. The second type of rapidly ex-
panding industries are robotics, computer-
aided design, and computer-aided manu-
facturing. Florida is doing a great job in this
field, as is the Pittsburgh area, because of
the involvement of Carnegie-Mellon and
Westinghouse. The third area is telecom-
munications and artificial intelligence, es-
pecially fifth-generation and voice-actuated
computers. Here, it's Texas, most notably
Austin, where IBM has set itself up.
Omni: Would you back up a step and talk
about the future of genetic engineering?
Cetron: I anticipate that we'll use genetic en-
gineering — gene splicing — very shortly to
fix a deformed arm or leg. I think this kind of
genetic engineering will be common by the"
year 2000 or 2010, when it will become po-
litically and socially acceptable. The parallel
is women's rights. Women over tifty-five in
general still feel their job is to slay home, take
care of the home, and bask in the glory of
their husbands. The woman .under twenty-
five knows there's no job she can't have. The
only job a woman won't have by the year
2000 is that of Catholic priest. Cloning hu-
man brains is another matter, as is cloning
as a means of reproduction. Perhaps nei-
ther will ever become popular. The use of
cloning mechanisms implanted in embryos
lo keep viruses from entering, cells may,
however, become common shortly after the
beginning of the next century. At about lhal
same time almost all childhood diseases will
be eradicated, and half the cancers we know
about will be under control. Skin, breast, and
cervical cancer — we'll be able to cure all of
these. And by 2010 or 2020 we'll have ninety
percent of the forms of cancer under con-
trol. The tough ones will be the cancers that
strike such vital organs as the liver, kidney,
We're looking at the regeneration of fin-
gers and toes right now, and I think we'll ac-
complish this feat in the next thirty-five years.
The regeneration of human internal organs
won't take place until 2050 at the earliest.
Plastic surgery will be improved to the point
where surgeons will reshape parts of the
body without scalpel and without pain. I'd
say you're talking here about 2010 or 2020.
Omni: In Encounters With the Future, you
talked about people living as long as trees.
What's your forecast for the human life span?
Cetron: Around about 2050, the average hu-
man life span will be out' hundred years ni
perhaps even a little more. Every three years
and nine months, a child being born lives a
year longer. My grandson, who is two years
old. can expect to live more than eighty years
even if he enjoys only an average life span
His grandchildren in 2050 will have an av-
erage age of one hundred.
Omni: Urban planners are quite worried
about the future of our largest cities, espe-
cially the oldes! and ihe biggest cities, such
as Now York, which have lost jobs and pop-
ulation in the last five to ten years. What are
your thoughts on the subject?
Cetron: I haven't got too much hope lor our
largest cities, especially New York— includ-
ing the borough of Manhattan. Cities with
populations of more than three million are in
big trouble because the reasons we Origi-
nally built big cities no longer exist. Cities
used to be the places where we had good
roads, and roads outside cities were dirt.
Now the only places in which you can't drive
are the big cities Cities used to have the
the year 2000, travel
get together with NASA
and offer two-
day shuttle trips, which
called celestial weekends.^
-best schools; now the best schools are in
the suburbs. Cities used to be the best
places to shop: now it's the mails outside
the cities. City offices used to be the only
place for commerce, but now office work can
be done by telephone, interactive cable,
connected computers, and swift connec-
tions like Federal Express. Mew York City is
not as bad off a place as Detroit, but I
wouldn't put much money into New York City
Los Angeles ■sr.'i going to be as bad off as
the rest because it is spread out, not up.
Houston also looks okay because it is, a
newer city and doesn't have a large concen-
tration of the very poor. The city problems
run deep on both coasts, from Boston down
to Norfolk. Virginia, in the East, and Seattle
to San Diego in the West.
Omni: Going back to computers, when will
schools start using computers to teach chil-
dren basics.- ■ the so-called three R's?
Cetron: The job-training partnership, the
federal government, and the computer
manufacturers themselves will make com-
puters available to the schools. The kids will
use the computers in the daytime. At night
they'll be turned over to people lacking ad-
equate computer skills or to people be-
tween jobs who need lo he letrained for their
next job. At the age of three or four, kids will
start special courses to become computer
literate. At a leading university, I saw kids
only two and a half using computers, partly
because they didn't have the coordination
to write. They use shortened words like Ed
for Edward, and Jim for James. The. com-
puter says, good morning, ed. how are you
today? Two faces light upon the screen, and
a smiling face reads fine, and a frowning
face, bad. If the child chooses bad, the com-
puter says, I'M SORRY YOU'RE FEELING BAD. ED.
There's no question of age. All the kids
need is to be able to walk and be toilet-
trained. By the way, they had Saran Wrap
over the keyboards so Ihe kids wouldn't mess
them up with candy or soft drinks. My wife,
Gloria, teaches kindergarten, where you
have to learn sixteen key words before the
first grade. Words like run, see, in, and on.
One little girl said. "Mrs. Cetron, I can spell
run." Gloria said. "Okay, go ahead and spell
it." The kid said, "R-U-N, carriage return."
The kid has a computer and is already on
her way to becoming computer literate.
Omni: What do you see unfolding out there
in the dark seas of space?
Cetron: The first man to land on Mars won't
get there for al least another sixty years. I
think travel agencies will get together with
NASA by the turn of the century and offer
two-day shuttle trips, which might be called
celestial weekends. It's technically feasible
and politically acceptable now but not yet
economically viable. The first child will be
born in space around 2010 or 2015. There
will be a space station out there on which
people live and work. As a natural part of
living, it will happen. I doubt that men and
women will ever venture outside our own so-
lar system, for the simple reason that it is not
possible for any object to travel faster than
the speed of light. E still eguals mc".
Omni: Here's a final guestion that you might
think is right off the wall: What's in the future
for things like greed, lust, dishonesty, cor-
ruption, and power plays? Will mankind's
basic character improve?
Cetron: There is a dishonest streak in most
of us, and people will never change. When
there's enough money involved, you'll cor-
rupt someone. It's that simple. Any individ-
ual's tirst step is to learn survival: food, cloth-
ing, and shelter. Then he or she takes a
higher step: education, professional devel-
opment. Step three is community relations,
putting money into the United Fund, the hu-
manities, helping the Salvation Army, and
even joining a church group. The question
is, Should we train the right people to do the
right things at the right times? I doubt that
Harvard Business School helps. They're al-
ways saying, "bottom line, bottom line," but
that bottom-line business is killing us. Bot- -
torn liners don't spend money for either re-
search and development or for education
and retraining. Look at China. China is grow-
ing because its loaders believe in long-term
growth and because they understand that
the most important way to achieve that
growth is to educate their people. DO
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outside the doors. None in Ihe trees, as far
as he could see.
But he thought he saw something over
beside the wall. A bulge in the shadows that
moved every now and then, not swaying in
the slight breeze. A man, moving from one
fool to the other.
An external guard, then. One of Resnick's
men. Or a commercial cop hired by the
building. The guard would have seen Bren-
nan shoot the breeze with the elevator guard
inside. He'd probably write him off as a per-
The hotness flooded through his guts
again. Burning coils crawled up through him,
adding to the weight in his belly.
He bit his lip. He was scared — sure. But
he had thought it over, and he couldn't hold
onto his self-respect if he didn't go through
He shivered and thrust his hands deep
into his coat pockets. Should have remem-
bered to wear gloves. On She other hand,
they 'd get in the way.
He could hear his wristwatch ticking, it was
that quiet. Seconds dropping away, gone
torever. Light snowflakes fell from the hard
That was how the TV guy had said it was
Spinning slowly in a tank in a drifting, aim-
less dream, the fluids filling his lungs, invad-
ing his tissues, finding the cancerous cells
and renegade chemicals, devouring them,
scraping away the cellular grime of a life-
time, subtracting years from Resnick's body
while he swam — erasing, healing, curing, his
skin silently shedding like snowflakes in a
night of spongy sleep.
At first the story had been that this was a
radical new treatment for advanced cancer.
That Resnick was a hero because he put a
lot of his own money into the research, year
after year, while his own cancer was chew-
ing at him.
They held it off with chemotherapy and
burned it out with radioactivity and all the
time tried this new method — a cancer-seek-
ing molecule that would go for mutated cells,
comparing them with the body's own healthy
cells and killing them off if they didn't match.
High risk. High cost.
And it worked. It aced out the bone-mar-
row cancer, and it erased a lot of other dis-
eases Resnick might have, or was about to
get, lying in wait down there in the cells. It
he caught anything else or developed more
cancers, they'd pop him back in the tank for
a while, clean him out, put him back on Ihe
Change the oil, fella. And lube it. Ten mil-
lion bucks? Put it on the card.
Resnick volunteered for it, same as the
guys who volunteered for artificial hearts and
kidneys and lungs.
Only Resnick had bought his way in. spent
hundreds of millions — because otherwise
nobody, not even the government, was going
to buy a cure at that price.
And it would stay that way. The p
took dozens of specialists working three
shifts a day, month after month. Nothing you
could make copies of, like an artificial heart.
Labor. Expensive labor. So the Resnicks of
the world could buy it.
And nobody else. -
Brennan sgueezed the revolver in his
Across the garden, under a tree, another
shadow faded and then reappeared. An-
other. They had guards everywhere.
He realized he had been standing still for
a long time, like he was hiding. Exactly the
wrong thing to do.
He paced out to the walkway, around some
bushes, and back to some nearby trees. He
tried to look impatient and stamped his feet
to keep warm.
The guard inside was just hired help, a
rent-a-cop. He didn't have the checklist of
newsmen, probably didn't know there was
one.' If Resnick's main party had braced
Brennan, or the men in the shadows had
stopped him, they would have known the
Herald wouldn't send a stringer for this job.
Brennan had already seen Watkins, one of
the Herald's best front-page men, back at
So until somebody in the know saw Bren-
nan and didn't recognize him, he was okay.
The men in the garden had taken the ele-
vator guard's acceptance as good enough.
He was still safe.
But they would see immediately that
something was wrong if Brennan got too ex-
cited, went for Resnick, tried to get in close.
So it would have to be a long shot— and a
He hadn't fired the thirty-two in ten years
at least, had forgotten he had it until he was
lying up in that hospital, watching the news,
trying not. to think about the tubes they had
up his ass and down his throat, plastic and
wires and barium enemas and endless
X rays; trying to find the bowel cancer, track-
ing it down so they could cut him open again
and again, running up the bills, shooting him
so full of dope he couldn't think straight, so
he'd wake up sweating at night, the red fever
dreams swarming in his head, and next
morning they'd make him collect his shit in
a bag —
The elevator door opened.
Resnick was looking straight out at him
through the glass, smiling broadly.
Brennan felt hot oil sliding through his guts.
Resnick stepped out of the elevator, talk-
ing to the bland-faced man next to him, nod-
ding to the guard.
Smoking a cigarette. Grinning. Looking
forward to the Hilton.
The two shadows in the garden were
moving. Silhouettes melted from one tree to
the next. Converging on the path, to cover
Resnick when he came out
Well, Brennan wasn't going to give them
an easy target. He would stay where he was.
fire from the darkness.
He had been a pretty good shot once. He
could get in two, maybe three before they
knew who the hell he was.
All (he cancer baths in ihe world couldn't
fix up bullet holes.
Resnick pushed open the glass door him-
self, beaming. He was coming out, on his
way to the Hilton to meet all his famous.
There was a tall, leggy woman with him,
twenty years younger than Resnick, bru-
nette, her full, red lips set in an easy, supe-
rior smile. High-heeled shoes and a while
gown under the fur coat.
She said something light and airy, and a
murmur of conversation came across the
■ chilled air.
Two guards walked in front. Breni
sucked in a breath and held it, leveling the
pistol on Resnick's outline, squeezing a little
on the trigger already. Two-handed, hands
in front, professional style. Waiting until there
was a clear space between trees, enough
angle for a clean—
A shot boomed. A man in front shouted
something, and an orange flash came from
across the garden.
Two quick explosions.
Screaming. A muzzle flash, then another.
Brennan froze, his finger rigid. He hadn't
Two figures were down on the walkway,
and Ihe tall woman was stumbling back to-
ward the elevators, a high, ragged scream
coming from her.
A man ran into the trees, away from Bren-
nan, and fired three limes at a shadow. It
"Hurry, get a doctor! Get a doctor!" some-
one shouted. A dark figure bent over the ■
walkway and then jumped up and pounded
into the foyer.
Brennan walked silently past Resnick's
sprawled form. The eyes stared blankly up
at Ihe falling white flakes.
Two men were bent over him. trying to get
some signs of life out of the body, bu! there
was a big hole in the chest.
A dark stain spread over the Wertmeiler
Nobody noticed Brennan. He walked to
the first body under ihe trees and rolled it
over. II was a man, emaciated, skin mottled.
A pistol lay on the snow.
The second was a woman, still alive. She
was about sixty years old, and a sour brealh
came out of her, a smell he knew was not
righl and would not get right. She had a
No weapon visible. He felt in her coat
pocket. A kitchen knife.
She blinked up at the night above, not
seeing him. Her lips were moving, but no
sound came out.
Brennan didn't say anything to her. He
walked away through the trees.
Nobody tried to stop him. They were all
running around and yelling.
His gut didn't burn anymore, but he knew
it would tomorrow. That didn't matter. What
made him feel good, really good, as he hit
the cold, slick street, was that there were
other sick people in the world, millions of
them, a lot more lhan there would ever be
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Tlit blessings of nature, -,
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It iliau liquet
F r a n ge 1 i c o
When boredom and fatigue are added to
visual deprivation, the hungry brain may ea-
gerly garnish the eye's glow ng creations with
more complex pictures, including laces,
landscapes, fantasy creatures, and visions
from the past. In fact, when subjects in sen-
sory-deprivation studies are confined to dark
chambers, tank-type respirators, or moving
swings, optical images turn into elaborate
hallucinations in as little as ten minutes.
Isolation and solitude can also increase
the need to search for visual signals, real or
imagined. After eight days in a dark pod,
■ Claude willingly self-adminislered dimethyl
tryptamine, a powerful hallucinogen that
mimics the effects of light on the retina and
is always shunned by primates with ade-
quate visual stimulation. In featureless envi-
ronments not unlike deep space, explorers
sailing around the world or crossing Antarc-
tica have frequently hallucinated imaginary
companions. Explorer Christiane Ririer, in the
depression of the long polar nighl, searched
for the noisy phantoms she knew were un-
real. And the astronaut stranded on an alien
plane! in Fredric Brown's story "Something
Green" talked to an imaginary alien that rode
on his shoulder. If HAL is not around, it can
be conjured up with the same ease that al-
lows children to make calls on toy phones.
Such hallucinations become especially
intense when combined with life-threatening
danger. Hostages, for example, report float-
ing or falling through tunnels of brightly col-
ored geometric patterns, then emerging into
a hallucinatory wonderland. A combat pilot,
terrorized by a loss of pressure, fell he was
floating outside his plane amid lights and
hometown friends. A window cleaner who
barely survived a fall from a Los Angeles
skyscraper claimed that a UFO had res-
cued him from a tunnel of lights.
In some instances, fear may be great
enough to catapult an astronaut into a mysti-
cal state of consciousness, a condition that
suppresses the ability to act. The astro-
nauts, in fact, can be compared with the
"psychonauts" I studied at UCLAs Neuro-
psychiatric Institute from 1972 through 1977.
Trained to take highly controlled LSD flights
into inner space, these subjects could de-
scribe hallucinations in precise language,
defining a color, tor instance, to within a few
millimicrons "of its spectral wavelength. Bui
when confronted with bewildering halluci-
nations and psychological fear of death,
these specialists were unable to operate
computer keys or aircraft joysticks. Fiats
treated with hallucinogens at the Stanford
Research Institute failed to navigate familiar
underwater mazes, even when survival was
at stake. Sensory bombardment may be a
life-inspiring mystical experience in the safety
of your home, but it could be death-inviting
madness for astronauts en route to the stars.
Successful navigation through the per-
ceptual maze of spaceflight will bring us to
alien shores dissociated and confused and
thus suscepKbk-Hounpre-diolable reactions.
And without the benefit of exo psychologists,
the aliens might be in even more of a quan-
dary than we. In short! the potential for bad
or lethal behavior on I'rsl contact will be great.
One clue as to what rri'.c.h; happen can be
gleaned from the story of a U.S. medical team
making first contact with a group of Huichol
Indians isolated by the forbidding Sierra
Madre Occidental, a mountain raYige in
western Mexico, though the year was 1972,
the team had arrived on horses much as
Cortez had done. Even though the Ameri-
cans had hidden all technology from view,
the natives were alarmed by the alien pres-
ence and ieac;eo with xenophobia.
A widespread benaviora trait throughout
the animal kingdom, xenophobia is defined
as intolerance and aggression toward
strangers. Claude's free-ranging simian
counterparts in India would have repelled
him with threats and direct attacks. And the
mild-mannered Huichols were antisocial as
well. As the learn came onto the mesa, the
Huichols lied to their huts, leaving a small
baby to sun in the yard.
The Huichols hid for four days, emerging
only to retrieve the baby each night. Mean-
while, the medica: loam's repeated contact
with the infant eventually brought out the
adult females. And the next team to visil —
an anthropologist and her infant daughter-
were fully accepied.
Psychologists have atYbi.ied this even-
tual acceptance to what they call stimulus
generalization, defined as the ease with
which one can see the familiar in the unfa-
miliar. II the alien resembles a familiar stim-
ulus (the infant), it will generally be ac-
cepied. and a broad stimulus generalization
" is said to occur. When the alien is different
from a known stimulus (Ihe tarantula), the re-
action is fear, and a narrow stimulus gener-
alization results When the gan" batiike al en
in Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End
cradled two human children .during ils lirst
appearance, Ihe stimulus similarities over-
shadowed the fear.
If we are to turn terror into thanksgiving on
first contact, we will have to increase stimu-
lus generalization by learning to relate to
creatures that may seem bizarre. Through
repeated trials with strange species, for ex-
ample, Claude acquired a concept of "alien"
that allowed him to explore more freely and
defecate less when presented with new en-
counters. Training human contact teams, first
in the altered environmerr of spaceflight and,
ultimately, in anthropological and etiologi-
cal settings where perception can be
broadened and prejudices narrowed, will
help us see the star child at Ihe end of the
corridor as one of our own. And on the day
we slip info our pumpkin suit to greei our
neighbors from beyond, we might recall
.Claude's experiences here on Earth. Re-
member: Don't crap in your pants, and send
out the women and children first. DO
Editors' note: Ronald K. Siegel is an experimen-
tal psyenciogisi and psycnopharmacologist at
UCk As Neuropsychiatry Institute.
remarks because rhoir coping mechanisms
are not functioning.
Conversely, deliberately olfering positive
suggestions during surgery may speed re-
covery. Bennelt is now trying out what he
calls' preoperative suggestions. On Ihe day
before an operation, he sits with a patient
and suggests that certain Ihings will happen
to the individual's body during surgery. To a
woman scheduled for a hysterectomy, for
example, some of his' suggestions were:
"Starting tonight and into tomorrow. Ihe blood
is going to move away from your abdomen
and into your arms and legs. At the end ol
your surgery, all the muscles in your abdo-
men will be relaxed,"
Bennett is concentrating on blood flow
because Ihere is ample evidence from his
.own and other research that it can be di-
rected. Also, it provides an objective meas-
ure of how effective suggestions are. "We've
had encouraging results so far," he says.
Surgeons who aren't told which patients have
been given suggestions have been saying
things like, 'Hey! This guy is not bleeding
very much,' "
Despite Ihe evidence, the medical com-
munity remains skeptical, and the use of
Constructive suggestion under anesthesia
has yet to become as commonplace in the
operating room as the scalpel is.
Though this attitude may be prevalent in
the medical community, there are excep-
tions, One is Dr. David Bradley Cheek, a San
Francisco gynecologist. His studies during
the Sixties of surgical- pat tent recall inspired
Henry 'Bennett to conduct his own research.
Cheek once recommended that every op-
erating room, recovery room, and intensive-
care unit bear a sign that read: be careful,
THE PATIENT IS LISTENING.
Another believer is Dr. Bernard Siegel, a
surgeon in New Haven. Connecticut, with 20
years of experience. For the past five years,
Siegel has deliberately sooken messages of
support to his anesthe:ized patients and has
seen them recover with fewer complica-
tions. "People are afraid of anesthesia," says
Siegel, "so before Ihe operation, I tell my pa-
tients, 'Don't worry, we will still be in contact.'
Then during surgery, I talk to their uncon-
scious. I tell them pes live things about their
problems; I ask them not to bleed; and I toil
them Ihey will wake up comfortable, hungry,
And there are other encouraging devel-
opments. Frank Guerra, an anesthesiologist
and psychiatrist at Denver Presbyterian, has
launched a newsletter, Human Aspects ol
Anesthesia, which is sent to anesthesiolo-
gists, Its purpose, he says, is to make his
colleagues realize that what they are doing
in the operating room has critical psycho-
logical significance for their patients and that
"whether or not they believe that the patient
is going to have any kind of perception or
memory," Guerra says, "they should behave
as if this were the caso."DQ
knee by rejoining the femur and tibia but acts
as a. sort of scaffold on which new connec-
tive tissue can grow. During the three years
the operation has been employed, pa-
tients—including a' semi professional foot-
ball player and several gymnasts— have
been able to jog within seven months and
resume full aciivity in less than a year.
One orthopedist who is saying yes even
to pro athletes is Royer Collins, of Wen-
alchee. Washington. Collins belongs to a
group of 20 physicians around the country
. who are implanting artificial ligaments made
of a material called Gore-Tex.
"It's a relative of the same stuff they use in
raincoats," Collins says. "It doesn't deform,
if doesn't stretch out, and it's three times
sironger than human ligaments."
So far the group has used the Gore-Tex
ligament in 325 human patienis. Only six
people have experienced complications.
"We're very pleased," he adds. "With most
ligament reconstruction it takes a year be-
fore people can start doing things. With
Gore-Tex we've had people back to full ac-
tivity in a month."
But what about those people who require
a whole new knee? Will there ever be a day
when someone with an advanced and
chronic prob.e- ca" have the entire joint re-
placed? The Coses' IVig n existence is the
Total Knee, an arf if icial joint in which menisci
and articular cartilage are eliminated, and
the damaged ends of femur and tibia are
replaced by titanium or a chrome-cobalt al-
loy, (The patient's own ligaments are nor-
mally used to join the iwo bones.)
"It's very much like having your brakes re-
lined," says David Hungerford, of Johns
Hopkins University, who developed one of
the many versions of the Toial Knee. But be-
cause the cement that joins the metal sur-
faces to the face of the bone does not hold
up under unusual stress, the Total Knee is
used only for seriously crippled palients.
Martin Altchek, a Middletown, New York,
orthopedist who has successfully used aTo-
tal Knee in 73 arthritis patients, agrees. "I
would never put one in an athlete," he says.
Then what can be done for Joe"? "What we
need for people like thai," Hungerford says,
"is a basic understanding at the cellular level
of how the various parts of the knee are
made. We need to be able to tell cells to
manufacture whatever Is necessary to re-
habilitate Joe Namath's knees." This is not
beyond the realm of possibility. 'After all," he
says, "scientists can now program an E. coti
bacteria to make human insulin."
In Los Angeles the programming has al-
ready started. During the last five years.
Douglas Jackson and his colleagues have
'taken cells from goat ligaments, cultured
special lattice to give the cells the correct
structure. "In effect," Jackson says, 'we're
producing test-tube ligaments now." Jack-
son has implanted some of these ligaments
in goats' knees, but the results have not been
as good as with more standard methods.
On the encouraging side, none of the pos-
sible problems— rejection, cell disease, or
cancer-causing "invasion"— have material-
ized. Jackson is sufficiently pleased by the
work on animals to have gone on to the next
step: successfully culturing human ligament
tissue in solution. Can this tissue then be im-
planted in a human patient? "We're con-
vinced that it can," Jackson says. "Bui be-
fore we do it, we first have to be convinced
that it works and that it can be done safely."
Hungerford views Jackson's work as a
possible first step toward what might be
called the Omega Knee— a joint grown en-
tirely from a person's own cells. "Let's say we
make a model of Joe Namath's knees, then
make a mold based on the model," he sug-
gests. "Then we take some of Namath's cells,
grow them in culture, and say. 'Okay, guys,
go to it Turn that mold into articular carti-
lage, or ligaments, or whatever's needed.' In
a month or so, when its grown, we take it
and- then we surgically implant in into Na-
math's knees. We make his knees normal.
"We don't have the information to do that
yet " Hungerford concludes. "But I believe
-ador D.ali. has- peppered f.
spooking me with Ihem? Don't call again.
"But, you called me!" "
"Hang up, Emma!"
Emma Crowley hung up.
In the hall at three-fifteen in the cold morn-
ing, Clara Peck glided out, stood for a mo-
ment, then pointed up at the ceiling, as if to
"Ghosts?" she whispered.
The trapdoor's hinges, lost in the night
above, oiled themselves with wind.
Clara Peck turned slowly and went back
inside, and thinking about every movement,
got into her bed.
She woke at four-twenty in the morning
because a wind shook the house.
Out in the hall, could it be?
She strained. She tuned her ears.
Very softly, very quietly, the trapdoor in the
stairway ceiling squealed.
And opened wide.
Can't be! she thought.
The door fell up, in, and down, with a thud.
Is! she thought.
I'll go make sure, she thought.
She jumped, ran, locked the door, leaped
back in bed.
"Hello, Ratzawayl" she heard herself call,
muffled, under the covers.
Going downstairs, sleepless, at six in the
morning, she kept her eyes straight ahead,
so as not to see that dreadful ceiling.
Halfway down she glanced back, started,
"Silly!" she cried.
For the trapdoor was not open at all.
It was shut.
"Ratzaway?" she said, into the telephone
receiver, at seven-thirty on a bright morning.
It was noon when the Ratzaway inspec-
tion truck stopped in front of Clara Peck's
house. In the way that Mr. Timmons, Ihe
young inspector, strolled with insolent dis-
dain up the walk, Clara saw that he knew
everything in the world about mice, termites,
old maids, and odd late-night sounds. Mov-
ing, he glanced around at the world with that
fine masculine hauteur o! the bullfighter in
mid-ring, or the sky diver fresh from ihe sky,
or the womanizer lighting his cigarette, back
turned to the poor creature in the bed be-
hind him. As he pressed her door bell, he
was God's messenger. When Clara opened
the door she almost slammed it for the way
his eyes peeled away her dress, her flesh,
her thoughts. His smile was the alcoholic's
smile. He was drunk on himself. There was
only one thing to do.
"Don't just stand there!" she shouted.
"Make yourself useful!" She spun around and
marched away from his shocked face.
She glanced back to see if it had had the
right effect. Very few women had ever talked
Ihis way to him. He was studying the door.
Then, curious, he stepped in.
"Up here!" said Clara.
She paraded through the hall, up the steps
to the landing, where she had placed a
step I adder.
She thrust her hand up, pointing.
"There's the attic. See if you can make
sense out of the damned noises up there.
And don't overcharge me when you're done.
Wipe your feet when you come down. I got
to go shopping. Can I trust you not to. steal
me blind while I'm gone?"
With each blow, she could see him veer
His face flushed. His eyes shone. Before
he could speak, she marched back down
the steps to shrug on a light coat.
"Do you know whal mice sound like in at-
tics?" she said, over her shoulder.
"I damn well do, lady," he said.
"Clean up your language. You know rats?
These could be rats or bigger. What's bigger
in an attic?"
"You got any raccoons around here?"
"How'd they get in?"
"Don't you know your own house, lady? I
would think you — "
But here they both stopped.
For a sound had come from above.
It was a small itch of a sound at first. Then
it scratched. Then it gave a thump like a
heart. Something moved in the attic.
Timmons blinked up at the trapdoor and
snorted loudly, "Hey!"
Clara Peck nodded, satisfied, pulled on
her gloves, adjusted her hat, watching.
"It sounds like—" drawled Mr. Timmons.
"Did a sea captain ever live in this house?"
he asked, at last.
The sound came again, unmistakably
louder, from above. The whole house
seemed to drift and whine with the weigh!
that was being shitted above.
"Sounds like cargo." Timmons shut his
eyes to listen. "Cargo on a ship, sliding when
the ship changes course." He broke into a
laugh and opened his eyes.
"Good God," said Clara, and she tried to
"On the other hand," said Mr. Timmons,
half smiling up at that ceiling, "you got a
greenhouse up there or something? Sounds
like plants growing. Or a yeast, maybe, big
as a doghouse, getting out of hand. I heard
of a man who raised yeast in his cellar. It—"
The front screen door slammed.
Clara Peck, outside, glaring in at his jokes,
said, "I'll be back in an hour. Jump!"
She heard his laughter follow her down
the walk as she marched. She hesitated only
once to look back.
The damn fool was standing at the foot of
the ladder, looking up. Then he shrugged,
gave a what-the-hell gesture, and —
■ Scrambled up the stepladder like a sailor.
When Clara Peck marched back an hour
later, the Ratzaway truck still stood at the curb
by her house.
"Hell," she said to it, "thought he'd be done
by now. Strange man tromping around,
swearing — "
She stopped and. listened to the house.
"Odd," she muttered.
"Mr. Timrnons!" she called.
And realizing she was still twenty feel from
the open front door, she approached to call
through the screen.
She stepped through the door into a si-
lence like the silence in the old days before
the mi.ee had begun to change to rats and
the rats had danced themselves into some-
• thing larger and darker on the upper attic
decks. It was a silence that, if you breathed
it in, smothered you.
She swayed at the bottom of the flight ot
stairs, gazing up, her groceries hugged like
a dead child in her arms.
"Mr, Timmons — ?"
But the entire house was still.
The portable ladder still stood waiting on
But the trapdoor was shut.
Well, he's obviously not up in there! she
thought. He wouldn't climb and shut himself
in. Damn fool's just gone away.
She turned to squint out ai histruck aban-
doned in the bright noon's glare.
Truck's broke down, I imagine. He's gone
She. dumped her groceries in the kitchen
and (or the first time in years, not knowing
why, lit a cigarette, smoked it, lit another, and
made a loud lunch, banging skillets and run-
ning the can opener overtime.
The house listened to all this and made
By two o'clock the silence hung about her
like a cloud of floor polish.
"Ratzaway," she said, as she dialed the
The pest-company owner arrived halt an
hour later, by motorcycle, to pick up the
abandoned truck. Tipping his cap, he
stepped in through the screen door to chat
with Clara Peck and look at the empty rooms
and weigh the silence.
"No sweat, ma'am," he said, at last. "Char-
lie's been on a lew benders lately. He'll show
up to be fired tomorrow. What was he doing
here?" He glanced up the stairs at the step-
"Oh," said Clara Peck, quickly, "he was
just looking at — everything."
"I'll come, myself, tomorrow," said the
And as he drove away into the afternoon,
Clara Peck slowly moved up the stairs to lift
her face toward the ceiling and watch the
"He didn't see you, either:"
Not a beam stirred, not a mouse danced
in the attic.
She stood like a statue, feeling the sun-
light shift and lean through the front door.
Why? she wondered. Why did I lie?
Well, for one-thing, the trapdoor's shutjsn't
it?' And, I don't know why, she thought, bur /
won't want anyone go:ng ::p that ladder, ever
again. Isn't that silly? Isn't that strange?
She ate dinner early, listening.
She washed the dishes, alert.
, She put herself to bed at ten o'clock, but
in the old downstairs maid's room, tor long
years unused. Why she chose to lie in this
downstairs room, she did not know; she sim-
ply did it and lay there with aching ears and
the pulse moving in her neck and in her brow.
Rigid as a tomb carving under the sheet,
Around midnignt, a wine passed, shook a
pattern of leaves on her counterpane. Her
eyes flicked wide.
The beams of the house trembled.
She lifted her head.
Something whispered ever so' softly in the
attic. She sat up.
The sound grew louder, heavier, like a
iarge but shapeless animal, prowling the at-
tic dark. She placed her feet on the floor and
sat looking at them. The noise came again,
far up, a scramble like rabbits' feet, here, a
thump like a iarge heart there.
She slepped out into the downstairs haM
and stood bathed in a moonlight that was
like a pure, coo dawn [ iling the windows.
Holding the banister, she moved stealthily :
up the stairs. Reaching the landing, she
touched the siepladder, then ra sed her eyes.
She blinked. Her heart jumped, then held
still. For as she watched, very slowly the
trapdoor above her sank away. Itopened, to
show her a waiting square of darkness like
a '^ine shaft going up, without end.
- '"I've had just about enough!" she cried.
She rushed down to the kitchen and came
storming back up with hammer and nails, to
climb the ladder in furious leaps.
"I don't believe any of this! " she cried. "No
more, do you hear? Stop!"
At the top of the ladder she had to stretch
up into the attic, into the solid darkness with
one hand and arm, which meant that her
head had to poke halfway through.
"Now!" she said.
At that very instant, as her head shoved
through and her fingers fumbled to find the
trapdoor, a most startling, swift thing oc-
curred. As if something had seized her head,
as if she were a cork pulled from a bottle,
her entire body, her arms, her straight-down
legs were yanked up into the attic,
She vanished like a magician's handker-
chief, Like a marionette whose strings are
grabbed by an unseen force, she whistled
up. So swift was the motion, that the bed-
room slippers were left standing on the step-
After that, there was no gasp, no scream.
Just a long breaking si erco lor about ten
seconds. Then, for ho seen reason, the trap-
door slammed flat-down shut.
A year later, a new family bought and
moved into the silent house.
Finding the trapdoor, the children climbed
up, laughing, to throw wide the attic v
dows and let the hot summer wind blow
through all the empty spaces.
Then, giggling and shouting, they climbed
back down to a tine luncheon of ham sand-
wiches and soup. DO
techniques, but he confesses to liking hyp-
nosis a great deal. He says that the hypnotic
view of the mind is "like a smudged window
that's hard lo see through. Even so, we are
beginning to observe forms of thinking, per-
ceiving, and feeling that are barely hinted at
in conventional lines of inquiry."
Bowers's work is still in its infancy, and
none of the Canadian scientists are sure what
new information about the mind may come
out of their continuing research. But at the
very least, "intuition research and the work
on the hidden observer will eventually
. Ghange our way of looking at conscious-
ness," concludes Laurence.
In addition to using hypnosis as a valu-
able entree to the unconscious, researchers
are looking lo use it in a more concrete way.
At Pennsylvania State Unversity, psycholo-
gist Howard Hall declares, "I'm not all that
interested in what hypnosis is but in what
you can do with it. Can we alter various bio-
chemical ar eters?" he
asks. He believes we can.
Among the things Hall has been trying io
do is see whether the brain can affect the
body's main line ot self-defense against dis-
ease, Ihe immune system. In one test, he
took blood samples from 20 healthy people,
hypnotized them, and then asked them to
visualize their white blood cells as sharks at-
tacking and wiping out cancer cells.
Then he had group members learn self-
hypnosis. After they had practiced it at home
twice a day for a week, he took, a" second
blood sample. The results; The younger,
highly hypnotizable subjects managed to
raise their white-blood-cell counts from
13,508 before hypnosis to 15,192 after prac-
ticing self-hypnosis. Hall's conclusion: "The
mind can influence the body by changing
the biochemistry of the blood."
Hall's experiment was inspired by the work
of Carl Simonton, a radiation oncologist, and.
Stephanie Matthews-Smonton, a psycho-
therapist. The two had devised a visualiza-
tion/relaxation procedure that they used
along with traditional methods for treating
cancer patients. Patients were asked to
imagine their, white blood cells as powerful
creatures devouring weak, confused can-
cer cells. The Simontons tested this tech-
nique on 159 "incurable" cancer patients.
Two years later, 63 of them were still alive
and in improved health. One explanation for
what happened, the Simontons said, was that
these mental exercises enhanced immunity.
A few short years ago. such an idea would
have been rejected by medical science as
preposterous. The immune system was
thought to operate autonomously. But re-
cent discoveries have shown that there is.an
intimate and barely explored link connect-
ing the brain, the central nervous system,
During the late Seventies, Vernon Riley, a
cancer biologist at the Pacific Northwest Re-
search Federation, in Seattle, demonstrated
112 ' OMNI
that the immune systems of unstressed mice
were able to contain Ihe growth of experi-
mentally implanted cancer cells. When he
stressed the animals, the tumors grew and
the animals died.
Lesser ailments have also responded to
hypnosis. Warts, a common skin disease of
viral origin, have been especially suscepti-
ble. Theodore Barber, a psychiatrist at
Cushing Hospital, in Framingham, Massa-
chusetts, and a longtime practitioner and
chronicler of hypnosis, has listed sound sci-
eniific studies, going back to Ihe Fifties,
demonstrating that warts could literally be
In his own work, Barber cites one remark-
able case of a woman whose body had been
covered by 39 warts for three years. After
two sessions ot hypnosis, during which she
was told to imagine each wart tingling and
eventually vanishing, 37 of them disap-
Hall- has also been experimenting with
other nonimmunological applications of
6/n one test a group
subjects rattled off the names
of colors on a
chart, unaware that one of
their hands held
a pencil that was adding a
column of numbers.^
hypnosis. One ininguing iesl he has done
suggests that hypnosis can be used to pro-
tect the hearing of a person exposed to loud
noises. It is a known medical fact that peo-
ple who routinely work in noisy environments
eventually lose some of their hearing.
In his test Hall look two groups of people
and blasted each with loud (about 115-dec-
ibel) noise. The unhypnotized group- was
asked to sit and do a crossword puzzle while
being bombarded with sound. The hypno-
tized group was given the suggestion to
imagine themselves wearing earmuffs that
filtered out some of the noise, muting it to
normal levels. When tested later, those who
did the crossword puzzles suffered notice-
ably more of a temporary loss in hearing than
the people with the imaginary earmuffs.
Others besides Hall have been intrigued
by the medical potential of hypnosis. In Bos-
ton, for example, psychiatrist Fred Frankel,
a Harvard professor and the acting director
of the department of psychiatry at Beth Is-
rael Hospital, is working with colleagues to
see whether thoughts can alter the workings
of the immune system.
The researchers plan to inject subjects
with seven harmless antigens, chosen be-
cause they will elicit a gradual response from
the immune system. One group of subjects
will be given the hypnotic suggestion lo de-
press their immune response, another group,
to enhance it.
Later, the team will microscopically ex-
amine the areas where the subjects' skin was
pricked, and they wilf'count cells, look inside
white blood cells, and measure changes. It
will be the first time the influence of hypnosis
will have been tested with such advanced
immunological techniques. If any difference
is detected belween the two groups it will
make a convincing case for a link between
the mind and the body.
The difficulty in doing this kind of re-
search, Frankel says, is determining whether
any changes observed are the result of hyp-
nosis or simply the ambience of the hypnotic
setting. "You sit down with someone and
you're nice to him. You speak to him in quiet,
soothing tones," he says.'You tell him to close
his eyes — to relax and imagine he is drifting
off into another world.
"Sometimes just relaxing that- way makes
him feel better. Some people call that a pla-
cebo. Bui whatever it is — expectation, re-
laxation — these are very important, cura-
tive, therapeutic elements."
And there is the problem of hypnotizabil-
ity. Hall found that the more susceptible to
hypnotism a person is, the more dramatic
was the immune response he could elicit.
And not everyone is equally hypnotizable.
Roughly one tenth of the population cannot
be hypnotized at all. A third can achieve a
drowsy- light state of hypnosis, another third,
a medium state. And the rest are capable of
going into a deep trance, in which we can
respond to posthypnotic suggestion, am-
nesia, or age regression.
Does this mean only highly hypnotizable
individuals can be helped? "I'm still strug-
gling with that question," Hall admits. Al-
though he has not figured out how, he is
convinced that everyone can learn how to
exert some control over his or her body.
"I believe we can do things with people
who are not high hypnotics," he adds. He
believes that what is really at work is a more
general force that he calls the psychology of
healing, and that hypnosis is just one means
of tapping into it. This concept is where Hall's
main interest lies. "You know," he points out,
"the psychology of healing kept the human
race alive long before the advenf of modern
medicine. Centuries ago, people took all
kinds of stuff — crocodile dung, tooth of
swine — that we now know to be pharma-
cologically inactive. But they believed in it,
and they got better."
Although clinical experience indicates that
hypnosis can help the mind perform re-
markable feats — even influence the im-
mune system — there is as yet no absolute
scientific proof, says Frankel. "But that
doesn't mean that we should stop using it. I
would be the last person to want to throw it
out. I've seen patients recover memory,
overcome fears, get tremendous relief from
suffering. It's produced some very dramatic
things; and it is not magic. "DO
I didn't want to ! i -irk aoou: what the employ-
ees used to stimulate them.
They unhooked the first trailer, and I ■
backed in the second. I got down out .of the
cab, and an employee came up to me, a big
fellow with red eyes and brand-new cover-
alls. "Good ones this load?" he asked. His
brealh was like the end of a cabbage, bean,
and garlic dinner.
I shook my head and held a cigarette out
lor a light. He pressed his tingernail against
the tip. The tip flared and settled down to a
steady glow. He looked at it with pure want-
ing in his eyes.
"Listen," I said. "You had anyone named
Sherill through here?" I spelled it for him.
"Who's asking?" He oa.rnbled. still eyeing
the cigarette. He started to walk away.
'Uust curious. I heard you guys knew all
"So?" He stopped. He had to walk around,
otherwise his shoes melted the asphalt a bit
and got stuck. He came back and stood,
lifting one toot, twisting a bit, then putting it
down and lifting the other.
"Couple of Cheryls. No Sherills," he said.
"Now — "
I handed him the cigarette. They loved the
things.. "Thanks," I said. He popped it into
his mouth and chewed, bliss pushing over
his seamed face. Tobacco smoke came out.
of his nose, and he swallowed. "Nothing to
it," he said, and walked on.
1 took the empties back to Baker. Didn't
see Bill. Eight hours later I was in bed, beer
in hand, paycheck on the bureau, my eyes
Shit. My conscience was working. I'd
thought I was past that. But then I didn't use
the perks, and I wouldn't drive without insur-
ance. I wasn't really cut out for the life.
The next trip, it was cool dusk, and the
road crossed a bleak flatland of skeletal
trees, all the same uniform gray as if cut from
paper. When I pulled over to catch a nap —
never sleeping more than two hours at a
stretch — the shouts of the damned in the
trailers bothered me even more than usual.
They said silly things like:
"You can take us back, Mister! You really
"Shit no, mo 'fuck pig."
"You can let us out! We can't hurl you!"
That was true enough. Drivers were alive,
and the dead could never hurt those alive.
But I'd heard what happened when you let
them out. There were about ninety of them
in back, and in any load there was always
one who'd make you want to use your perks.
I scratched my itches in the narrow bunk,
looking at the Sierra Club calendar hanging
just below the fan. The Devil's Postpile. The
load became quieter as the voices gave up,
one after the other. There was one last
shout — some obscenity — then silence.
It was then 1 decided to let them out and
see if Sherill was there or il anyone knew her.
They mingled in the Annex, got their last so-
cialising before the City. Someone might
know. Then if I saw Bill again —
What? What could I do to help him? He
had screwed Sherill up royally, but then she'd
had a hand in it too, and that was what Hell
was all about. Poor stupid sons of bitches.
I swung out of the cab, tucking in my shirt
and pulling my s:raw hat do-.vn on my crown.
"Hey!" I said, walking alongside the trailers.
Faces peered at me from Ihe two inches be-
tween each white slat.
"I'm going to let you out. Just for a while. I
need some information."
"Ask!" someone screamed. 'Uust ask.
"You know you can't run away, can't hurt
me, you're.all dead. Understand?"
"We know," said another voice, .quieter.
"Maybe we can help."
"I'm going to open the gates one trailer at
a time." I went to the rear trailer first, took out
my keys, and undid the Yale padlock. Then
4/Wore people were
coming, and I was getting
nervous, i stood my
ground, trying to seem cairn,
and the dead
gathered around me, looking
at each other and
then at me, looking eager*
I swung the gates open, standing back a
little like there was some kind of infected
wound about to drain.'
They were all naked. Butthey weren't dirty
or unhealthy. Dead, they couldn't be. But all
had some sort of air about them indicating
what brought them to Hell; not anything spe-
cific, but subliminal.
Like, the three black dudes in the rear
trailer, first to step out. Why they were going
to Hell was all over their faces.
"Stupid ass mo'fuck," one of them said,
staring at me beneath thin, expressive eye-
brows. He nodded and swung his fists, trying
to pound the slats from the outside, but the
blows hardly made them vibrate.
An old woman crawled down, hair white
and neatly coiffed. I couldn't be certain what
she had done, but she made me uneasy.
Then the others, young, old, mostly old. Quiet.
They looked me over, some defiant, most
"I need to know if there's anyone here
named'Sherill," I said, "who happens to know
a fellow named Bill."
'That's my name," said a woman hidden
in the crowd.
j'Let me see her" I waved my hand at them.
The black dudes came forward. A funny look
got in their eyes, and they backed away. The
others parted, and a young woman walked
out. "Howdoyoi, spoil your name?" I asked.
She got a panicked expression. She
spelled it. hesitating, looking to see if she
was connecting, making the grade. I felt hor-
rible already. She wss a Cheryl.
"Not who I'm looking for," I said.
"Maybe no! spocrica.ly." sne said, real soft.
She was very pretty, with medium-size
breasts, hips like a teenager's, legs not ter-
rific but nice. Her black hair was clipped
short, and her eyes were almost Oriental.
"You can walk around a bit," I told them.
"I'm letting out the first trailer now." I opened
the side gates on that one, and the people
came down. They didn't smell of anything,
didn't look hungry; they just all looked pale.
"Woman named Sherill," I repeated. No
one stepped forward. Then I felt someone
close'to me, and 1 turned. It was the Cheryl
woman, She smiled. "I'd like to sit up front
for'a while," she said.
"So would we all, sister," said the white-
haired old woman. The black dudes stood
off separate, talking low.
I swallowed, looking at her. Other drivers
said they were real unsubstantial except at
one activity. That was the perk. And it was
said the hottest ones always ended up in
"No," I said. I motioned for them to get
back into the trailers.
It had been a dumb idea all around. They
went back, and I returned to the cab, won-
dering what had made me do it. I shook my
head and started her up. Thinking on a dead
run was no good. "No," I said, "goddamn," I
Cheryl's face stayed with me.
Cheryl's body stayed with me longer than
There is always something that comes up
on a life to lure a man onto the Low Road,
not driving but riding in the back. We all have
something. I wondered what reason God had
to give each of us that little flaw, like a chip
on a crystal soul. You press the chip hard
enough, everything splits up crazy.
I returned hauling empties and found my-
self this time outside a small town called
Shoshone. 1 pulled my truck into the cafe
parking lot. The weather was cold, and I left
the engine running. It was about eleven in
Ihe morning, and the cafe was half full. I look
a seat at the counter next to an old man with
maybe four teeth in his head attacking
French toast with downright solemn dignity.
I ordered eggs and hash browns and juice,
ate quickly, 'and went back to my truck.
Bill stood next to the cab. Next to him was
an enormous young woman with a face like
a bulldog. She was wrapped in a filthy piece
of plaid fabric, looking like it had been
snatched from a trash dump somewhere.
"Hey," Bill said. "Remember me?"
"I saw you pulling up. Wanted you to meet
Sherill. 1 got her out of there." The woman
stared at me with all the expression of a brick.
"It's all screwy back there. Like a power fail-
ureor something. We lsi weJkod out on the
road, and nobody stopped us."
Sherill could have had any number of
weirdnesses beneath her formidable looks
and gone unnoticed by ordinary folks, but I
didn't have any irouble picking out the big-
gest thing wrong with her. She was dead, i
looked around to make sure that I was in the
World, and I was, and he wasn't lying. Clearly
something serious was happening on the
"Trouble?" I asked.
"Lots of escapes." He grinned at me. "Pan-
■ "That can't happen," I said, knowing I was
wrong. Sherill was trembling now, hearing
"He's a driver, Bill," she said. "He's one
takes us there. We got to git out of here." She
had that soul-branded air and the look o! a
pig that's Just escaped the slaughter seeing
the butcher again. She took a few steps
backward. Gluttony, I Ihought. Gluttony and
buried lust and a real ugly way of seeing liie,
inner eye pulled all out of shape by her bulk.
"Tell me more." I said.
"There's these folks running all over down
there, holing up in them towns, devils chas-
ing them — "
"Employees," I corrected:.
"Yeah, every which way."
Sherill tugged insistently on his arm. "We
got to go. Bill."
"We got to go," he echoed. "Hey, man.
thanks. I found her!" He pointed at Sherill
and nodded his whole-body nod, and they
werq ofi down the street, Sherill's plaid wrap
dragging in the dirt. '
I drove back to Baker, parked in front of
my little house, and sat inside with a beer
while it got dark, checking my calendar for
next day's run and feeling very cold. Next
day 1 was scheduled to pick up another load
at the Annex. Nobody called. If there was
trouble, surely the union would let me know.
I showed up at the Annex early morning.
The crossover from World lo work was as
usual; I followed the route, and the sky mud-
died from blue to solder color, and I was on
the first leg of the road that leads to the An-
nex. I backed the rear trailer up. to the yard's
gate and unhitched it, then placed the for-
ward trailer at a ramp, all the while keeping
my ears tuned to pick up interesting conver-
sation. The employees who work the Annex
look quite human. I took my bill of lading from
a red-faced, billiard-ball-eyed old guy. He
spit smoking saliva on the pavement, re-
turned my QL.e'y'irc, look s aniwise, and said
nothing. Maybe it was all settled. I hitched
L.p both full trailers and pulled out.
It was the desert again this time, only now
the towns and tumbledown houses looked
bomb-blasted, like something big had come.
through, flushing out game with a howitzer.
No nevermind. Keep your eyes on the.
. road. Push that rig.
Four hours in I came to a roadblock. No-
body on it, no employees, just big carved-
lava barricades cu:tng across all lanes and
beyond them a wall of yellow smoke, which,
the driver's unwritten instructions advised,
meant absolutely no entry.
I got out. The load was making noises. I
suddenly hated them, Least they could do
wasgowithdignityand spare, me their mis-
ery. I stood by the truck, waiting for instruc-
tions or some indication of what I was sup-
posed to do, The load go! quieter after a
while, but I heard noises off the road,
screams mostly-and far away.
"There isn't anything," I said to myself,
lighting up one of Bill's cigarettes even
though I don't smoke and dragging deep,
"anything worth this shit." Not job or dignity
or anything. I vowed I'd quit after this run.
I heard something come up behind the
trailers, and I edged closer to the cab steps.
High wisps of smoke obscured things at first,
but a dark shape four or five yards high
plunged through and stood with one hand
on the top slats of the rear trailer.
It made little grunting noises. It was cov-
ered with naked people, crawling all over,
biting and scratching and shouting obscen-
ities. It fell to its knees, then stood again and
lurched off the road.
I'd never seen an employee so big before,
or in so much trouble. The load began to wail
like banshees. I threw down my cigarette and
ran -after it.
Workers will tell you. Camaraderie ex-
. . -.,y|^^B^^^B|fiflBB|iJfc£%M--';~-.*''-
jgtjF ^jnw m
^^^^ <^===-£~^^Lj- .; J_Qjl
"Say what you like, 1 remain a
tends even to these or the ;ob you don'l like.
If they're in trouble, it's part of the mystique
to help out. Besides, the unwritten instruc-
tions were very clear on such things, and
I've never knowingly busted a job rule — not
since getting my rig back — and couldn't see
Through the smoke and across great
ridges of lava, I ran until I spotted the' em-
ployee about ten yards ahead. It had shaken
off the naked oeople and ■■.va.~ standing with
one in each hand, lis shoulders smoked, and
scales stood out at all angles. They'd really
done a job on the bastard. Ten or twelve of
(he dead were picking tnemselves off the
lava, unscraped, unbruised. They saw rne.
The employee saw me.
Everyone came at me, grabbing. I turned
and ran for the truck, stumbling over out-
stretched arms and legs. My hair stood on
end. People pleaded for me to haul them
out, whining like whipped dogs.
Then the employee got hold of me and
swung me up high out of reach. Its hand
was cold and hard like iron tongs kept in an
ice-cream freezer. It grunted and ran toward
my truck, opening the door wide and throw-
ing me roughly inside. It made clear with wild
gestures thai I'd better turn around- and go
back, that there was no way through.
I started the engine and turned the rig
around, I rolled up my window and hoped
the dead weren't substantial enough to
scratch paint or tear up slats. ■
All rules were off now.
I headed back down the road.
My load screamed like no load I'd ever
had before. I was afraid they might get loose,
but they didn't. I got near the Annex, and
they were quiet again, too quiet for me to
hear over the diesel.
The yards were deserted. The long, white-
painted cement platforms and whitewashed
wood-slat loading ramps were unattended.
No souls' in the pens. The sky was an indef-
inite gray, and an out-of-focus yellow sun
gleamed faintly cf" the wh;e walls of the em-
ployees' lounge. I stopped the truck and
swung down to investigate.
There was no wind, only silence. The air
was Irosty without being particularly cold.
What I wanted to do most was unload and
get out of there, go back to Baker or Barstow
I hoped that was still possible. Maybe all
exits had been closed. Maybe the overseers
closed them to keep any more souls from
I tried the gate latches and found I could
open them. I did so and returned. to the truck,
swinging the rear trailer around until it was
flush with the ramp. Nobody made a sound.
"Go on back," I said. "Go on back. You'ye
got more time here. Don't ask me how."
"Hello. John." Thai was behind me. I turned
and saw an older man without any clothes
on. I didn't recognize him at first. His eyes
finally clued me in.
"Mr. Martin?" My high-school history
teacher. I hadn't seen him in maybe twenty
years. And I'd never seen him naked.
"This is not the sort of job I'd expect one
of my students to take," Martin said. He
laughed the smooth laugh he was famous
for, the laugh that seemed to take every-
thing he said in class and put it in perspec-
tive. "The cat's away, John. The mice are in
charge now. I'm leaving, if I can."
"How long you been here?" I asked.
"I died a month ago, I think."
"You can't go," I said. The ice creeped up
"Team player," Martin said. "Still the
screwball team player, even when the team
doesn't give a damn what you do."
1 wanted to explain, but he walked away
toward the Annex and the road out. Looking
back over his shoulder, he said, "Get smart,
John. Things aren't what they seem," I last
saw him shaking his head as he rounded the
corner of the Annex.
The dead in my load had pried loose some
of the ramp slats and were jumping off the
rear trailer. Those in the forward trailer were
screaming and carrying on, shaking the
Responsibility, shit, I thought. As the dead
followed after Mr. Martin I unhitched both
trailers. Then I got in the cab and swung
around away from the Annex onto the in-
coming road. "Sure as anything," 1 said, "I'm
going to quit."
The road out seemed awfully long. I was
taking a route that I'd never been on before,
and I. had no way of knowing if it would put
me where I wanted to be. But I hung in there
for two hours, running the truck dead-out on
The air was getting grayer, like somebody
turning down the contrast on a TV set. I
switched on the high beams, buf they didn't
help. By now I was shaking in the cab and
saying to myself, nobody deservesthis. No-
body deserves going to Hell no matter what
they did. I was scared. It was getting colder.
Three hours, and I saw the Annex and
yards ahead of me again. The road had
looped back. I swore and slowed the rig to
a crawl. The loading docks had been set on
fire. Dead were wandering around with no
idea what to do or where to go. I sped up
and drove over through the few that were on
the road. They'd come up, and the truck's
bumper would hit them and I wouldn't feel a
thing, like they weren't there. I'd see them in
the rearview mirror, getting up after being
knocked over. Just knocked over Then I was
away from the loading docks, and there was
no doubt about it this time.
I was heading straight for Hell.
The disembarkation terminal was on fire,
too. But beyond it the City was bright and
white and untouched. For the first time I drove
past the terminal and took the road into the
City. It was either that or stay on the flats with
everything screwy. Inside, I thought, maybe
they'd have things under control.
The truck roared through the gate be-
tween two white pillars maybe seventy or
eighty feet thick and as tall as the Washing-
ton Monument. I didn't see anybody, em-
ployees or dead. Once I was through the
pillars, and il came as a shock —
There was no City, no walls, just the road
winding along and countryside in all direc-
tions, even behind.
The countryside was covered with shacks,
houses, little clusters and big clusters.
Everything was tightly packed, people
working together on one hill, people sitting
on their porches, walking along paths, turn-
ing to stare at me as the rig barreled on
through. No employees — no monstrosities
of any sort. No flames. No bloody lakes or
This must be the outside part, I thought.
Deeper inside it would get worse.
Another hour of driving through that calm
landscape, and the truck ran out of fuel. I
coasted to the side and stepped down from
the cab, very nervous.
I lit up my last cigarette and leaned against
the fender, shaking a little. But the shaking
was running down, and a tight kind of calm
was replacing it.
The landscape was still condensed,
crowded, but nobody looked tortured. No
screaming, no eternal agony. Trees and
shrubs and grass hills and thousands and
thousands ot little houses.
It took about ten minutes for the inhabit-
ants to get around to investigating me. Two
men came strolling over to my truck and
nodded cordially. Both of them were middle-
aged and healthy looking, just like they were ■
alive. 1 nodded back.
"We were betting whether you're one of
the drivers or not," the first, a black-haired
fellow, said. He wore a simple handwoven
shirt and pants. "That so?"
"You're lost then."
I agreed. "Maybe you can tell me just
where I am?"
"Hell," said the second man, younger by
a few years and just wearing shorts. The way
he said it was like you might say you came
Irom Los Angeles or Long Beach. Nothing
big, nothing dramatic.
"We've heard rumors there's been prob-
lems outside," a woman said, coming up to
join us. She was about sixty and skinny. She
looked like she should be twitchy and ner-
vous but she acted rock-steady. They were
"There's some kind of strike," I said. "I don't
know what it is, but I'm looking for an em-
ployee to tell me,"
"They don't usually come this far in," the
first man said. "We run things here. Or rather,
nobody tells us what to do."
"You're. alive?" the woman asked, a curi-
ous hunger in her voice. Others were com-
ing around to join us, a whole crowd. They
didn't try to touch. They stood their ground
and stared and talked.
"I can't take you back," I said. "I don't know
how to get there myself."
"We can't go back," the woman said.
"That's not our place. Maybe you could just
listen to us, youknow?"
More people were coming, and I was get-
ting nervous again. I stood my ground, trying
to seem calm, and the dead gathered around
me, looking at one another and then at me,
"I never thought of. anybody but myself,"
one said. Another interrupted with, "Man, I
fucked my whole life away,. I hated every-
body and everything. I was burned out — "
"I thought I was the greatest. I could pass
judgment on everybody — "
"I was the stupidest goddamn woman you
ever saw. I was a sow, a pig. I farrowed kids
and let them run wild, without no guidance.
I was stupid and cruel, too. I used to hurt
"Never cared for anyone. Nobody ever
cared for me. I was left to rot in the middle
of a city, and I wasn't good enough not to
"Everything I did was a lie after I was about
twelve years old — "
"Listen to me, Mister, because it hurts, it
hurts so bad — "
I backed up against my fruck. They were
lining up now, getting organized, not like any
mob. I had a crazy thought they were be-
4f/iey were all
naked, but they weren't
dirty. Each had
some sort of air about
what had brought them to
Hell; not anything
specific, but subliminal.^
having better than any people on Earth, but
these were the damned.
An ex-cop told me what he did to people
in jails. An ex-Jesus freak told me that
knowing Jesus in your heart wasn't enough.
"Because I should have made it, man, I
should have made it."
'A time came and I was just broken by it
all, broke myself really. Just kepi stepping
on myself and making all the wrong deci-
sions — "
They confessed to me, and I began to cry.
Their faces'-were so clear and so pure, yet
here they were, confessing, and except
maybe for specific things — like the fellow
who had killed Ukrainians after the Second
World War in Russian camps— they didn't
sound any worse than the crazy sons of
bitches I called friends who spenf their lives
in trucks or bars or whorehouses.
They were all recent. I got the impression
the deeper into Hell you went, the older the
damned became, which made sense; Hell
just got bigger, each crop of the damned got
bigger, with more room on the outer circles.
"We wasted it," someone said. "Youknow
what my greatest sinwas? I was dull. Dull
and cruel. I never saw beauty. I saw only
dirt. I loved the din. find ii k; doan just passed
Pretty soon my tears were uncontrollable.
I kneeled down beside the truck, hiding my
head, but they kept coming by and confess-
ing. Hundreds must have passed, orderly,
talking quietly, gesturing with their hands.
Then they stopped. Someone had told
them to back away, that they were too much
for me. I took my face out of my hands, and
a young-seeming 'allow stooa looking down
or me. "You all right?" ne asked
I nodded, but'my insides were like broken
glass. With every confession I had seen my-
self, and with every tale of sin I had felt an
"Someone's going to be taking me here
soon," I mumbled. The young fellow helped
me up to my feet, and he cleared a way
around my truck.
"Yeah, but not yet," he said. "You don't be-
long here yet." He opened the door to my
cab, and I got back inside
"I don't have any fuel," I said.
He smiled that sad smile they all had and
stood on the step, up close to my ear. "One
of the employees is bound to get around to
you after they take care of the. distur-
bances," He seemed a lot more sophisti-
cated fhan the others. I looked at him maybe
a little queerly, like there was some explain-
ing in order.
"Yeah, I know all that stuff," he said. "I was
a driver once. Then I got promoted. What
are they all doing back there?" He gestured
up the road. "They're really messing things
up now, aren't they?"
"I don't know," I said, wiping my eyes and
cheeks with my sleeve.
"You go back, and you tell them all that
this revolt on the outer circles, it's what l ex-
pected. Tell them Charlie's here and "that I
warned them. Word's getting around."
'About who's in charge. Just tell them
Charlie knows and I warned them."
I closed my eyes. Some shadow passed
over. The young fellow and everybody else
seemed to recede. I felt rather than saw my
truck being picked up like a toy.
In the cab in the parking lot of a truck stop
in Bakersfield, I jerked awake, pulled my cap
away from my eyes, and looked around. It
was about noon. There was a union hall in
Bakersfield. I checked, and my truck was
full of diesel, so l started her up and drove
to the union hall.
I knocked on the door of the office. I went
in and recognized the old dude who had
given me the job in the firs! place. I was tired,
and I smelled bad,, but I wanted to get it all
done with now.
He recognized me but didn't know my
name until I told him. "I can't work the run
anymore," l said. "I'm not the one for it. I don't
feel right driving them when I know I'm go-
ing to be there myself, like as not."
"Okay," he said, slow and careful, sizing
me up with a knowing eye. "But you're out.
You're busted then. No more driving, no more
work for us, no more work for any union we
support. It'll be lonely."
"I'll take thai k : m. i of tjnely any day," 1 said.
"Okay." That seemed to be that. I headed
for the door and stopped with my hand on
"One more thing," I said. "Why there's so
much trouble in the outer circles. I met Char-
lie. He says to tell you word's getting around
about who's in charge, and that's why,"
The old dude's knowing eye went sort of
glassy. "You're the fellow ended up inside?"
"You wait a minute. Out in the office."
I waited and heard him talking on the
phone. He came out and was smiling and
put his hand on my shoulder.
"Listen, John, I'm not sure we should let
you quit so easy. Word is, you stuck around
and tried to helpwhen
everybody else ran.
The company appre-
ciates that. You've
been with us a long
time, reliable driver,
maybe we should ar-
gue with you a bit,
know what I mean?
Give you some incen-
tive to stay. I'm send-
ing you to Denver to
talk with a fellow, an
The way he said it, I
intuited there wasn't
too much choice and
I'd better not fight it.
You work union long
enough and you know
when to keep your
mouth shut and go
along with them.
They put me up in a
motel and fed me, and
by late morning I was
on my way to Denver.
. I was in a black union
car with a silent driver
and air conditioning
and some News-
weeks to keep me
bright and- early, I
stood in front of a very
large corporate build-
ing with no sign out
front and with a bank on the bottom lloor. I
went past the bank and up io the very top.
A secretary met me, pretty but with her
hair done up very tight and her jaw grimly
square. She didn't like me. By her looks she'd
be friendly only to insurance salesmen and
visiting preachers. She let me into the next
I'd seen the fellow before, 1 wasn't sure
where. He wore a narrow tie and. a tasteful
but conservative, small-checked suit. "His-
shirt was pastel blue, and there was a big
Rembrandt Bible on his desk, sitting on ihe
glass next to an alabaster penholder. He
shook my hand firmly and perched on .the
edge of the desk.
"First, let me congratulate you on your
bravery. We've had some reports from the
. . . uh . . . field, and we're hearing nothing
but'good about you." He smiled like that fel-
low on TV who's always ask'ny Ihe audience
to give him some help. Then his face got
sincere and serious. I honestly believe he
was sincere; he was also very well trained
in dealing with nol-very-bright people.
"I hear you have a report for me. From
"He said his name was Charlie." I told him
the story. "What I'm curious about, whaf did
he mean, this thing about who's in charge?"
"Charlie was in organization until last year.
He died- in a car accident, I'm shocked to
hear he got the Low Road."
He didn't look shocked. "To tell the truth.
STIFF UPPER LIP. AND ALL THAT
their relentlessly wet
weather. But they also
invented the trench
coat and the rolled
umbrella. And gel along just swimmingly.
Unflappable Englishmen still dress for
dinner in climates so sweltering that the
idea seems self-punishing. But by
savoring a tall, iced Beefeater 8 and
tonic, they manage to keep their cool.
The English, you see, believe in
keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of
adversity. But they're equally good at
keeping adversity to a manageable
level. Which probably explains why they
invented the trench coat, the rolled
umbrella, and the Beefeater Gin and
BEEFEATER 8 GIN.
The Crown Jewel of England!"
he was a bit of a troublemaker here. Maybe
I'm shocked but not surprised."
He smiled bngh-iy again, and his eyes got
large, and there was a little too much ani-
mation in his face. He had on these Mac-
Arthur wire-rimmed glasses too big for his
"What did he mean?"
'John, I'm proud of all our drivers. You don't
know how proud we all are of you folks down
there who are stuck doing the dirty work.
Hauling in sinners."
"What did Charlie mean?"
"The abortionists arc Demographers, the
hustlers and muggers and murderers. Athe-
ists and heathens and idol worshippers.
Surely there must be some satisfaction in
keeping the land clean. Sort of a giant san-
itation squad, you people keep the scum
away from the good folks, the good and
obedient workers. Now we know that driv-
ing's maybe the hardest job we have in the
company and Hat not everyone can stay on
the Low Road indefinitely. Still, we'd like you
to stay on. Not as a driver — unless you really
wish to continue, for the satisfaction of a
tough job. No, if you want to move up — and
you've earned it by now, surely — we have a
place for you here. A place where you'll be
"I've already said I want out. You're acting
like I'm hot stuff, and I'm just shit. You know
that, I know that. Down there they all started
Confessing to me like they was Ancient Mar-
■ 1 iners or something.
What is going on?"
His face hardened
"It isn't so easy up
here either, buster."
The "buster" bit got
me. I pushed up from
the chair. When I
stood, he held up his
and pursed his lips as
"Sorry. There's incen-
tive, there's certainly
a reason why you
, should want to work
: here. If you're so con-
1 vinced you're on your
! way to the Low Road,
you can work it off,
I you know."
"How can you say
! Bright smile. "Char-
lie told you something
■ about who's in charge
] Now it was getting
: dangerous. I could
| smell it, like with the
"He said that's why
"It comes every now
and then. We put it
down gentle. I tell you
' we really need good
people, compassionate people. People who
listen to even the damned. We need them io
nelp with the choosing."
"Surely you don't think the Boss does all
the choosing directly?"
I couldn't think of a thing to say.
"Listen, the Boss — let me tell you. A long
time ago, the Boss decided to create a new
kind of worker, with more decision-making
abilities. You and me and all the rest of man-
kind." Smile. Fable time, kiddies. "Some of
the supervisors disagreed especially when
the Boss said we'd be around for a long, long
time. We'd have immortal souls. When the
Boss got his program going strong, giving
us the freedom to choose between good and
evil, it was inevitable that a few would choose
evil. You could think' ot it as waste — nuclear
waste. There are benefits to the program-
good people, hard workers. And there's gar-
bage, too; poison, toxic garbage. The gar-
bage builds up after a time — those who don't
wan! to go along, not good workers; you
"A few turn out lo be . . . chronically un-
employable. Can't find it in themselves to go
along with the program. Gei out of line. What
do you do with them? Can'i dispose of them
■by just making them go away; the rule is,
they're immortal. Poison, but they last for-
ever. So — "
"Chronically unemployable''" He was
being mighty -clever. And what do you do
' with nuclear waste? You shit-can it Put it in
the biggest, deepest shit can. . . .
"The damned. You're a union man. Think
of what it must feel like to be out of work , . .
forever. The Boss's work is very important
there's no denying that. He's got big plans
for us all, and ii the Boss can't use you, then
I knew the feeling, both the way he meant
it and the reality behind the comparison.
What do you do with the chronically unem-
ployable? You put them on welfare . . . for-
ever. So what was Hell, shit can or welfare
dump? I go! the impression this fellow con-
sidered it a shit can.
But a good union man knows there isn't
anybody who can't do some sort of work,
can't be persuaded to be useful some way.
Only management thrKS of shil-canning or
welfaring. Only management thinks in terms
of human waste.
"The Boss feels the project half suc-
ceeded, so He doesn't want to dump it com-
pletely. But He doesn't want to be bothered
with all the pluses and minuses, the book-
"You're in charge," I said, my blood cool-
And I knew where I had seen him before.
God's right-hand man.
And human. Flesh and blood.
We ran Hell.
He nodded, "Now, that's not the sort of
thing we'd like to get around."
"You're in charge, and you let the drivers
take their perks on the loads, you let — "
I stopped, instinct telling me that if I didn't,
I would soon be on a rugged trail with no
"I'll tell you the truth, John, 1 have only been
in charge here for a year, and my predeces-
sor let things gei out of hand. He wasn't a
religious man, John, and he thought this was
a job like any other, where you could com-
promise now and then. I know that isn't so.
There's no compromise here, and we'll
straighten those inequities and bad deci-
sions out very soon. You'll help us, I hope.
You may know more about the problems than
"How do you qualify for a job like this?" I
asked. 'And who offered it to you?"
"Not the Boss. ; f that's wl iai you're getting
at, John, It's been kind of traditional. You may
have heard about me. I'm the one, when there
was all this talk about after-death experi-
ences, and everyone was seeing bright light
and beauty, I'm the one who wondered why
no one was seeing .the other side. I found
people who had almost died and had seen
Hell, and I turned their lives around. The
management in the company decided a fel-
low with my ability could do good work here.
And so I'm here. And I'll tell you, it wasn't
easy. I sometimes wish we had a little more
help from the Boss, a little more guidance,
but we don't, and somebody has to do it."
Again the smile.
I put on my mask,
"Of course," I said. I hoped that a gradual
increase in piety would pass his sharp-eyed
'And you can see how this ail makes you
much more valuable to the organization."
I let light dawn slowly.
"We'd hate to lose you now, John. Not when
there's security, so much security, working
for us. I mean, here we learn the real ins and
outs oi salvation."
I let him talk at me until he looked a! his
watch, and all the time I nodded and consid-
ered and tried to think of the best ploy. Then
I eased myself into a turnabout. I did some
confessing until his discomfort was stretched
too far— 1 was keeping him from an impor-
tant appointment — and made my conclud-
"I just wouldn't feel right up here," I said.
"I've been a driver all my life. I'd just want to
keep on, doing my bit wherever I'm best
"Keep your present job?" he said, tapping
his shoe on the side of the desk.
"Lord, yes," I said, grateful as could be.
Then I asked him for his autograph. He
smiled real big and gave it to me, God's right-
hand man, who had prayed with presidents.
I'm on the road again. I'm talking to peo-
ple here and there, being real cautious.
Maybe I'll get caught.
When it looks like things are getting
chancy, I'll take my rig back down the road.
Then I'm not sure what I'll do.
I don't want to let everybody loose. But I
want to know who else is ending up on the
Low Road who shouldn't be. People unpop-
ular with God's right-hand man.
My message is simple.
The crazy folks are running the asylum.
Maybe I'll start hauling trucks back out in-
stead of in, Christ was supposed to be the
last person to do that, He went to Hell and
rescued the righteous . , . harrowed Hell,
that's what they had always called it in my
Bible school classes,
If I" don't make it, if they're too powerful
and too sly, then I'll end up riding in back,
not in front.
But until then, I'm doing my bit. It's not as
if I'm asking for help by telling you this. But
you're a union man, aren't you? We could
shut it down, you know. Truck drivers har-
rowing Hell. Isn't that a thought?Dd
The one-in-a-million l.Q. test
By Scot Morris
Mosi intelligence (or l.Q.) tests are designed
so that average people get average
scores, clustered around the midpoint l.Q.
ol 100. The tests are most powerful at
their middle ranges, where the difference
between an l.Q. of 100 and 105 may be
a matter of several questions on the test
itself. But a! their upper ends, the tests
don't seem' to discriminate nearly as well —
the five-point difference between l.Q.
scores of 145 and 150, say, may translate
into raw-score differences ofonly one
or two test questions.
In recent years there has been an interest
in devising tests that make fine distinctions
in the intellectual stratosphere. The idea
is to make a test so difficult that geniuses
will get average scores, ^and only
supergeniuses will be able to achieve the
The Omni l.Q. Quiz Contest, published
this month by McGraw-Hill, is offering
$10,000 in prizes for the highest scores on
a test printed in the book. Prizes include
a $5,000 cash grand prize, a one-week trip
to Barbados for two, a Genesis telesystem
from AT&T, an Atari 800XL home computer,
and a Casio Data-Bank watch.
Contest and book author Marilyn Mach
vos Savant (who as a child scored a 230
on a Stanford-Binet l.Q. test and is listed in
the most recent edition of the Guinness
Book of World Records under "Highest
l.Q.") also writes about six high-I.Q.
organizations that have been established
in recent years.
Mensa, the most famous group, is open
to one person in 50 — that is, people in
the upper 2 percent of the population (I.Q.'s
above 133, or SAT or GRE scores above
1250). The Triple Nine Society has a 1-
in-1,0.00 cutoff (the 99.9th percentile, hence
the name). And the Prometheus Society
shoots for 1 in 30,000. But the most restric-
tive group is the Mega Society, which is 1
theoretically limited to one personin a .
million (the 99.9999th percentile). Mega is
recognized by Guinness as the world's
most exclusive- l.Q. society. At present it has
only 26 members.
The founder of Mega and author of one
of its admissions tests is Ronald Hoeflin, of
New York. Knowing how Omni readers
like l.Q. tests, Hoeflin split his original long-
form test into two parts of 48 questions
each. One part appears here, published
for the first time anywhere; the other part
appears in the Omni l.Q. -quiz book,
complete with answers.
Hoeflin estimates that the test printed
here has a floor of 122 (which means that if
you get no questions right, your l.Q. is
somewhere below 122) and a ceiling of 184.
The test's atmosphere is so rarefied that
it has no validity whatsoever in testing
people of "normal" intelligence. This test is
"the. result of almost two years of collabora-
tion between Hoeflin and Omni. At our
request the test was administered to more
than 150 people— all members of the
major high-I.Q. societies, in order to show,
for example, that Mega members score
higher than members of Prometheus, who
score higher than members of Triple Nine,
and so on.
Of the test's 48 questions: 8 correct
corresponds to an l.Q. of 134. the cutoff for
membership in Mensa; 22 right, an l.Q.
of 150. qualifies one for membership in the
Triple Nine Sociefy; 33 or above, corre-
sponding to a 164 l.Q,, qualifies one for
membership in the Prometheus Society; 42
right, or an estimated l.Q. of 176. is the
cutoff for joining the Mega Society.
This test alone is suitable for admission
to all of the above societies except Mensa.
1. ANSWER SHEET. Print or type all of
your answers on a single 8V2- by 11-inch
sheet of paper. At the top, give your name,
address, age, and sex. plus — optionally—
scores from any previous l.Q. or aptitude
tests you might have taken.
. 2. TIME LIMIT. There is no enforceable
time limit, but it is suggested that you
limit yourself to no more than one month.
3. ASSISTANCE. You are encouraged to
use such reference aids as.dictionaries,
thesauri, and pocket .calculators. A slide rule
is discouraged since all numerical answers
must be exact! Any assistance from other
persons is prohibited.
4. GUESSING. There is no penally for
wrong answers or guesses, so it is to
your advantage to guess whenever you are
unsure of an answer.
5. FEE. For a basic $5 scoring fee, you
will receive a scoresheet listing the number
of questions you answered correctly
(broken down into raw scores within each
of the- subtests), your corresponding I.O.
score, and its estimated percentile in
the general population.
For an additional $5 ($10 total), you will
receive a ien-page statistical report, "The
Meaning ol Mega Test Scores," which
shows how scores on the Mega test relate
to scores on other recognized high-I.Q.
■ tests, the procedures for applying for
membership in other high-I.Q. societies,
and their addresses.
6. SCORESHEETS. Send to Omni-Mega
Test, Box 7430, New York, NY 10116. Allow
eight weeks for processing.
For the first 24 problems, write the word
or prefix that best completes each analogy.
For example, in the analogy TASTE ; (is
to) GUSTATORY ;: (as) SMELL : (is to) ?, the
best answer would be OLFACTORY. In
the analogy of HOT ; COLD :: PYRO- : ?.
the answer would be CRYO-.
1. NIGHT : DAY :: NOCTURNAL : ?
2 HEEL: ACHILLES:: BOX: ?
3. SHOE: COBBLER:: BARREL:?
4. UNCERTAINTY; HEISENBERG ::
UNDECIDABILITY : ?
5. 14 :. SEMI :;1 '/;::?
6. BILLION: BILLIONTH:: GIGA-:?
7. TEETH: HEN:: NEST:?
8. LENIN: PSEUDONYMOUS::
9. PAIN: RUE -BREAD:?
10 FEEL : PALPATE ;: LISTEN : ?
11. WATER : AQUEOUS :: SNOW : ?
12 SEA: LITTORAL:: RIVER:?
13- THITHER : HITHER :: TRANS- : ?
14. WIDE: NARROW ::BRACHY-:?
15. CIVIL ; PAPAL :: AMBASSADOR : ?
16. BLACK: YELLOW ^MELAN-
CHOLIC : ?
17. FOUR-SIDED POLYHEDRON :
TETRAHEDRON ;: FOUR-DIMENSIONAL
HYPERCUBE : ?
18. WINTER: HIBERNATE;: SUMMER:?
19. GOD : THEOLOGY :: WHY. IF GOD
EXISTS, THERE IS EVIL:?
20. 100: PERCENTILE:^:?
21. LOGIC : SOPHISTICAL ;; FEAST : ?
22. RUTHLESS : MYRMIDON :: IMITA-
TIVE : ?
23. IS: OUGHT:: ONTOLOGY:?
For each of Ihe next (wo problems, four
of Ihe five figures have some basic, common
feature lhat the fifth figure lacks. Indicate
with the appropriate letter the figure that
does no! belong with the rest.
25. (A) (B) (C) (D) (E)
27. What is the minimum number of
square sheets of paper sufficient to repro-
duce the pattern below if the sheets —
unfolded, uncut, unmarked, and opaque —
are placed flat on top of one another such
that each line shown corresponds to the
edge of some square insofar as it is not
occluded by any overlapping square?
could touch, including A and B. if the knight
makes only permissible moves, does not
touch any square more than once, and
does nol go outside the 16 squares shown?
' 30. Draw the fourth figure in this series:
31. Several cervical cubes' afefused to
form a. solid object. Given the following
five views'of such an object, draw the sixlh.
32, If 27 itierrical cubical chunks of
cheese are piled together to form a cubical
stack as depicted be lew. what Is the
maximum number of these cheese chunks
through which a mouse of negligible size
could munch before exiting the stack,
assuming that the mouse always travels
along Ihe grid of 27 straight lines that pass
through the centers of Ihe chunks parallel
or perpendicular to their sides, always
makes a 90° turn at the center of each chunk,
and never enters any chunk more than
them. If each group el :hree dots has a flat
surface pass through it and extend an
infinite distance in every direction, what is
the maximum number of ti fferen; lines
at which these surfaces may intersect one
34.' Suppose that each side of a cube is
painted a single uniform color — red, blue,
or yellow— such thai any two sides painted
red are chromatically indisihguishable,
as are any iwo painted blue or any two
painled yellow. When all six sides are
visualized simultaneously, they constitute a
color pattern for the cube. Two color
patterns are mutually indistinguishable
whenever one can be made to coincide with
the other by suitable rigid rotations, For
example, there is only one distinguishable
color pattern consisting of one blue side
and five yellow sides. How many distin-
guishable color patterns can a cube have,
counting all six sides n cacti pattern and
assuming that .each side must be painted
red, blue, or yellow?
35. A cube of butler is sliced five times
by a butter knife. Into how many pieces
at most can the cube of butter thereby be
divided if each knife srokc s perfectly
straight (i.e., planar) and the pieces of butter
are never rearranged? The figure below
illustrates three slices, yielding eight pieces.
28. If three mutually intersecting rectan-
gles are drawn on a flat surface, what is
the maximum number of bounded areas that
can thereby be formed, considering only
Ihe sides of the rectangles as bounds
and counting only areas that are not furlher
29. In going from square A to squareB
in the figure below, what is the maximum
number of squares that a chess knight
33. Five dots are arranged in space so
that no more than three at a time can
have a single flat surface pass through
36. What is ihe maximum number of
completely bounded volumes that can be
formed by three interpenetrating cubes,
considering only the surfaces of the cubes
as bounds and counting only volumes
that are not further subdivided?
37. A modified version of the dice game
craps is played with two regular (i.e.,
perfectly symmetrical) dodecahedrons.
Each die has its sides numbered from 1 to
12 so that any sum from 2 to 24 would
■CON'HNUED'ONPAGE 132 129
gifts of nature — the scalloped
Michigan — are united by photographer
lonplace coleus. with
Lincoln Park C.
graphed the velveteen leaf one day and the
lakefront. Later he brought the t..^
i further illustrate
their contrasts. "I wanted to show \
photographer, who has a degree in zoology.
is, which, by the way, is actually i
va." To take the photographs, Morrill
n was Ektachrome 64.DO
cu"viir-;-;Er_'Ffio- -jagf ■,:
be showing on ihe lop surfaces of the iwo
dice after each throw. If a player gets the
sum 13 or 23 on his first throw (a natural), he
wins. If he gets the sum 2, 3, or 24 (craps),
he loses. If he gets any other sum (his point),
he must throw both dice again. On this or
any subsequent throw, the player loses if he
gets the sum 13 and wins if he gets his point
but must throw both dice again if any other
sum appears. The player continues until he
either wins or loses. To the nearest percent,
what is the probability at the start of any
■ game that the dice thrower will win?
38. Illustrated below is a simple scale for
weighing objects. The scale consists of a
lever resting on a fulcrum with weighing pans
at each end of the lever equidistant from the
fulcrum. Suppose that the objects to be
weighed may range in weight from 1 pound
to 100 pounds at one-pound intervals: 1. 2,
3 98, 99, 100. After placing one such
object on either of the two weighing pans,
one or more precalibrated weights is then
placed in either or both pans until a balance
is achieved, thus determining the weight of
the object. If the relative positions of the le-
ver, fulcrum, and pans may not be changed
and if one may not add to the initial set of
precalibrated weights, what is the minimum
number of such precalibrated weights that
would be sufficient to bring into balance any
of these objects?
one cubic meter and a weight of two long
tons. A group of terrorists render the lock
inoperable and attach a time bomb to the
side of Ihe barge set to go off in three hours.
The barge contains elevators tor moving
barrels quickly to the deck, but the crew is
too shorthanded to roll the heavy barrels up
an inclined plane in the time allotted. The
deck is only ten centimeters below the top
edge of the lock, from which the barrels could
be rolled to dry land. If no water is entering
or leaving the lock, how many barrels, at a
minimum, would need to be rolled into the
water in the lock in order to raise the level of
the barge so thai its deck would be even
with or slightly above the top edge of the
lock so that Ihe remaining barrels could be
rolled to dry land?
42. As one can see from the diagram be-
low, the sum of the infinite series
Vs + 'A + Vb + Vie + . . .
is 1. What is the sum of Ihe infinite series
i/ 3 + 14 + Va + ( /bi + .--?
39. A crystal cons.siso: "OO.OOO.OOOlay-
ers of atoms such that there is 1 atom in the
first layer. 3 in the second, 6 in the third, 10
in Ihe fourth, 15 in the fifth, and so forth, as
illustrated below. Exactly how many atoms
are there in the entire crystal?
For each of the following number series, what
number should come next? For example, in
the series 1 4 9 16 25 36 ? the best answer
would be 49.
' 43. 15 52 99 144 175 180147?
44. 3 23 229 2869 43531 ?
46. 1421 132 5 180 195189 5?
48. 1 3 8 22 65 209 732 2780?
This concludes the test.OO
40. To the nearest percent, the probabil-
ity that any one person selected at random
was born o"n Monday is 14 percent. What is
the probability, to the nearest percent, that
of any seven persons chosen at random, ex-
actly one was born on Monday?
41 . A certain lock for raising and lowering
barges from one river level to another is a
rectangular parallelepiped 200 meters long,
50 wide, and 20 deep. A barge is floating in
the lock that is also a rectangular parallele-
piped measuring 80 meters long, 25 wide,
and 5 deep'.""The barge, containing 3,0.00
barrels of toxic chemicals, displaces 8,000
long tons of water. The water has a density
of one long ton per cubic meter. Each barrel
of chemicals is watertight, with a volume of
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by the work of Allen Frey, a biophysicist and
technical director of Randomline Inc., a
basic-research and 'consulting firm in Hun-
tington Valley, Pennsylvania. Frey has been
studying sounds generated not by giant fire-
balls but by the relatively weak electromag-
netic fields associated with radar, micro-
waves, and radio waves.
Applying his physiology background to the
problem, Frey discovered that such fields,
while too weak to cause vibration in the out-
side environment, somehow stimulate the in-
ner ear itself. Although unsure of the exacr
mechanism involved, Frey suggests that
these very weak fields might be affecting the
chemical bath that surrounds the ear's
acoustically sensitive membrane. Somehow
that electrochemical reaction may be trans-
lated to sound.
While Keay's theory about vibration of the
surrounding environment makes sense, Frey
adds, giant fireballs are most probably stim-
ulating the internal environment— the inner-
ear membrane— as well as the external one.
"You don't have an either/or situation," he
notes. "The sources of the sound will vary
depending upon Ihe exact frequency of the
Both Frey and Keay insist that better un-
derstanding of the phenomenon will have a
sizable payoff. Learning exactly how elec-
tromagnetism reacts with the ear, says Frey,
will give us greater insight into the human
And understanding how fireballs gener-
ate sound, says Keay, could open new vis-
tas for scientists studying geophysics, elec-
tromagnetism. and astronomy. And perhaps
even more important, current work could
conceivably help researchers perfect a
promising new energy technology known as
magnetohydrodynamics, in which hot
plasma, like that created by the fireball, gen-
erates electromagnetic power.
In the past, Keay notes, a concerted study
of the fireball hiss has been almost impos-
sible. At any given site around ihe world,
there are only three or four giant meteors a
century. It's impossible to know when one of
these projectiles will arrive, and there simply
aren't enough of them to justify a long-term
wait, complete with recording equipment and
a trained scienliiic staff.
But that issue, he adds, may now be ac-
ademic. A new, predictable kind of fireball—
the space shuttle— produces as much
plasma and noise as do fireballs dropping
in from the cosmos.
"The space shuttle offers a golden op-
portunity for any young researcher- with a
tape recorder, an amplitier, and a bit of time,"
Keay contends. "Scientists who know when
it will pass can simply lie in wait tor its arrival.
By getting the whooshes and hisses of the
electromagnetic signal on tape, we can learn
exactly how this kind of energy is converted
to sound. We'd be solving a mystery that's
haunted us for two hundred years. "DQ
© ART CUMINGS
I have never seen
a more, realistic expression
of -the human condition
How are you at maps '
By Mitch Coleman .
ipawes is one of more than •
a dozen behavioral
researchers patrolling U.S.
■ cities-- as part of an effort
to control the proliferation of
■ a new urban
parasite— the street mime 3 .,
nst ■ -
., ■ on !.
■okoop this venerabk
d pecjl=ar : y annovina
ike a ii-iroc
lizei darl "
■■'!' :' 0<
; learn wh
presson. "Were just
at makes them fall int;
iso of the i
'or a bo'
I he oar: into -the rifle i-
A ioi" ■■.
. i . ! ;.'
■nr.ed In h
is arms and \mi the
•d-RS patrols g rf
o abruptly and
-.$ to the pilot Toe
I had been wall
topped dead s
. The sharp pop cUhe
nid hue noise of the ro;;
rM i:rooi mat tl
r- hohCOO- Caii'.iOUS
s so^enr-n He load-
iq so- ■- : " ■ lie-move
toe. Sailed :hc prey was
ne pulsed out a tape measi
storm. "While. Male/'he ir
;pmg Irks a baby
We ■ s:ari:e a : .ao -o
ghts and then—'
ock moved -acres
ooooc '.aeries. A loch-
ia Ns face, and men
had teardrops ,y
ears, fine mimes
nd&r them as well, but
apt to climb arv ir
ne dropped out i
rag nary sadder
dv. Jerry.' Two years
of dental school to bo
lokl Bring me a radio co^r; 'DO